October 20, 2023
JAKARTA – Two popular former governors, Anies Baswedan and Ganjar Pranowo, registered their candidacy for next year’s presidential election on the first day of the weeklong registration period on Thursday, while frontrunner Prabowo Subianto was left weighing his options for running mate.
The opening of the registration period for the February 2024 poll on Thursday marks the official start of the process to select the successor of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, who is constitutionally barred from seeking a third term as president.
The candidate registration period closes on Oct. 25.
Anies, an opposition figure and former Jakarta governor, and his running mate Muhaimin Iskandar, the chairman of the country’s largest Islam-based party, the National Awakening Party (PKB), were the first pair to register with the General Elections Commission (KPU), arriving in a white open-roofed classic jeep on Thursday morning.
Anies and Muhaimin, who were accompanied by leaders of the PKB, the NasDem Party and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) supporting their bid, were greeted by thousands of flag-waving supporters gathered in front of the KPU headquarters.
“We are offering the idea of change for Indonesian families,” Anies said during a press briefing after the registration. “We believe we will bring equality and justice, whether through affordable prices of household necessities or equal opportunities for jobs, education and health.”
Later on Thursday, former Central Java governor Ganjar of the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and his running mate Coordinating Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD were the second pair to register their candidacy with the poll body.
Escorted by a marching band and dancers in traditional costumes representing various regions of the archipelago, the pair arrived at the KPU headquarters in a modified open truck with a wooden Javanese gazebo before thousands of supporters.
Ganjar and Mahfud are running on the ticket of the PDI-P and the United Development Party (PPP), with two parties not represented in the legislature, Hanura and Perindo, supporting their candidacy. They say they are campaigning on a platform of equality, welfare, justice and corruption eradication.
“We want to build Indonesia in a faster way. We will continue existing programs of the government [of Jokowi] – we will improve what has not been that good and leave behind what’s not good,” Ganjar said. “Among our focuses are energy transition, the downstreaming of industries, food security and clean governance.”
The third presumptive candidate and frontrunner, Prabowo Subianto of the Gerindra Party, who is making a third run at the presidency having lost to Jokowi in 2014 and 2019, has yet to name his running mate.
The Defense Minister is supported by an alliance of eight parties – Gerindra, the Golkar Party, the National Mandate Party (PAN) and the Democratic Party, as well as non-legislative parties the Star Crescent Party (PBB), Gelora, Garuda and Prima. The alliance describes itself as “team Jokowi”.
Prabowo is thought to be considering Jokowi’s eldest son, Surakarta Mayor Gibran Rakabuming Raka, to serve as his running mate, despite Gibran being a card-carrying member of the PDI-P, after a recent controversial Constitutional Court ruling paved the way for the 36-year-old to run for vice president.
Speaking at his private residence in South Jakarta last week, Prabowo said he was examining four possible vice presidential candidates. He did not disclose their names, but State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Minister Erick Thohir, East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa and Coordinating Economic Minister and Golkar chairman Airlangga Hartarto are thought to be in the running.
Read also: PDI-P move puts Prabowo on the spot
Party leaders in Prabowo’s camp will discuss who will run with Prabowo on Friday, after PAN chairman and Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan returns to Indonesia earlier than scheduled from accompanying President Jokowi on a working trip to China and Saudi Arabia.
“Party chairs will hold their meeting as soon as all chairmen are in Jakarta,” Gerindra secretary-general Ahmad Muzani said on Wednesday.
Accompanying the President overseas is also vice presidential hopeful Erick, who could be next in line for the vice presidential slot if Gibran’s endorsement falls through.
A letter of good conduct from the police, one of the documents required to register for the presidential race, stating that Erick was fit to run in the upcoming race circulated on social media this week.
Supporters of Airlangga’s vice presidential candidacy, who call themselves Relawan Muda Airlangga Hartarto (Airlangga Hartarto’s young volunteers), threw their weight behind a Prabowo-Erick ticket on Thursday, saying that they were confident that the pair could realize the country’s ambitions of becoming a developed nation.
Political analyst Adi Prayitno said that while Gibran remained a “priority” for Prabowo, the defense minister and party leaders in his camp appeared to be “waiting for President Jokowi to get his direction or advice” over who should be Prabowo’s running mate.
With Prabowo’s camp branding itself “team Jokowi”, Adi said “Prabowo’s decision will still depend on what Jokowi says”.