Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) revealed on Monday (July 17) that three prominent figures are indeed on his list of potential running mates for the 2019 presidential election, The Jakarta Post reported.
Jokowi confirmed during an interview that his list includes former Constitutional Court chief justice Mahfud MD, Golkar chairman Airlangga Hartarto and West Nusa Tenggara governor Muhammad Zainul Majdi, having previously said that he had narrowed his list down to five.
However, he refused to say whether the list was final and said that the matter was being discussed with party members, according to The Jakarta Post.
A former Constitutional Court Chief Justice, Mahfud is also a seasoned politician, serving as deputy chairman of the National Awakening Party in 2003 and as Minister of Defence.
Mahfud seems to have been generally well regarded as Chief Justice. In his book on Law and Politics of Constitutional Courts, Stefanus Hendrianto asserts that he led the court to employ the progressive law approach. However, his time as Chief Justice was marred by several alleged corruption scandals.
In addition to being President of the Jokowi-supporting Golkar party, Arilangga Hartarto is currently Minister of Industry in Jokowi’s cabinet.
Both businessman and politician, Airlangga is the owner of fertilizer distributor PT Graha Curah Niaga, as well as president commissioner of PT Ciptadna Asset Management and PT Fajar Surya Wisesa Tbk, according to the Indonesia Economic Forum.
The fifth Golkar Chairman with a background in business according to Globe Asia, Airlangga began his political career as the party’s treasurer in 2004 and became its lawmaker in 2009, according to the Indonesia Economic Forum.
Appointed Chairman of the Golkar party in 2017, he was saddled with the task of trying to reform the party in the wake of a corruption case involving former chairman Setya Novanto.
Believed to be close to Jokowi, Airlangga has guaranteed Golkar’s support for the president’s administration and his re-election in 2019, The Jakarta Post reported.
Muhammad Zainul Majdi
Also known as Tuan Guru Bajang (TGB), Muhammad Zainul Majdi is the governor of Indonesia’s south-central province of West Nusa Tenggara, a position he has held since 2008, when he was appointed to the role by Minister of Interior Mardiyanto.
TGB was previously a supporter of Prabowo Subianto – widely believed to be the main rival for Jokowi in the upcoming election – having joined his campaign in the 2014 election, The Jakarta Post reported.
His defection to Jokowi’s camp is seen as particularly significant, as it is believed he could boost the president’s popularity with Muslim voters in West Nusa Tenggara, a Prabowo stronghold, and help prevent any attacks on his credentials as a Muslim leader, according to The Jakarta Post.