efe-epaJakarta

The president of Indonesia was on Sunday to take part in the second presidential debate ahead of the Apr. 17 elections alongside his challenger and former military general Prabowo Subianto, over whom he maintains a clear advantage in polling.

Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, will contest his presidency for the second time against Prabowo, whom he beat by a narrow margin in 2014.

Seven polls held between December and January showed an advantage of about 21 percent on average for the president, who is supported by around 50 percent of the electorate.

The televised presidential debate at a hotel in Jakarta will broach topics such as energy, food security, natural resources, environment and infrastructure in the third biggest democracy in the world.

Jokowi has used his infrastructure investment plan as the emblematic achievement of his government and has presented the recent nationalization of a gold and copper mine of the United States mining company Freeport as a victory of Indonesian interests.

During his term, the president has extended or established moratoriums on the exploitation of primary forest and peatland as well as palm oil plantation permits, and has unveiled an elaborate plan to resolve land ownership conflicts.

Prabowo has accused Widodo of failing to fight high malnutrition rates in the country, where nine million children under the age of five suffer from the condition out of a total population of around 260 million, according to the United Nations.

The former general has also claimed that the president allows foreign companies to profit by exploiting Indonesia’s natural resources.

Last year Greenpeace criticized the alleged illegal deforestation carried out by more than 20 palm oil companies during Widodo's tenure and indigenous and farmers' associations have also condemned the lack of progress in fulfilling their rights.

Around 187 million Indonesians are registered to vote in the April elections, which will also select members of the new parliament.

The long electoral campaign, which began in September, has been dominated by economic issues and the conservative section of the Muslim voters.