June 23, 2023
JAKARTA – The presidential nominee of the Coalition for Change and Unity (KPP), Anies Baswedan, has decided on his choice of running mate and called on political parties backing him to “move forward” with his candidacy, his spokesperson said.
The announcement came amid speculations that the alliance, which represents the opposition forces, is on the brink of falling apart as its members consisting the NasDem Party, the Democratic Party and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), struggled to settle on Anies’ running mate as well as the timing for declaring the candidate pair.
In an effort to keep his electoral vehicle intact, Anies convened a joint meeting with KPP members on Tuesday, in which he made clear that talks about the vice presidential nominee have been completed as he has made up his mind over his running mate pick, Anies’ spokesperson Sudirman Said told reporters on Wednesday.
“His directive [during the meeting] was that discussions over the vice presidential nominee have been concluded […] All aspirations have been taken into consideration. Political parties have put forward their aspirations. And now it is Mr. Anies’ turn to find the most suitable time to explain to the public whom he picks,” Sudirman said.
The presidential nominee also called for alliance members to move past the bickering, prepare concrete plans going forward ahead of the announcement of his running mate, and consolidate joint efforts to win the upcoming presidential race, Sudirman said.
“Pak Anies has asked [alliance members] to start moving forward and preparing technical matters, including the completion of the joint campaign team’s structure, the joint activities of the three alliance members, and timing options of the declaration of the presidential and vice presidential candidates,” Sudirman noted.
Spat within the Anies camp has recently reached new heights, with the Democrats, which has been pushing for its chairman Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono to fill the VP slot, blaming the uncertainty surrounding Anies’ running mate for his recent electability decline and threatening to evaluate its membership in the alliance unless a running mate was announced this month.
The Democrats once again raise pressure on Anies and its alliance partners as the party’s campaign manager, Andi Arief, recently took to Twitter and sent a cryptic message expressing his hope that Anies, who is scheduled to take flight to go on the haj on Thursday, would announce his running mate before his departure to the holy land.
“If Mr. [Anies Baswedan] goes on the haj pilgrimage this year, then the announcement of the presidential and vice presidential candidates should be made right before his departure, so that in the holy land [he] can pray for victory over [the pair],” Andi wrote in his Twitter account on Monday.
Responding to the Democrats’ maneuver, NasDem politician Taufik Basari called for the alliance members to refrain from pressuring Anies to announce his running mate pick, stressing that the alliance members have forged an agreement to leave the decision to Anies himself.
“We’ll just have to wait and see the time Anies feels to be the right moment to announce his running mate, considering the existing political dynamics,” Taufik said.
The Democrats’ ultimatum also came amid its long-time rival, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle’s (PDI-P) softening stance, extending an olive branch to the opposition party by placing party chairman Agus on the list of potential running mates to its presidential nominee Ganjar Pranowo.
Asked whether his party’s embracing the PDI-P’s reconciliatory gesture was part of the opposition party’s attempt to pressure its alliance partner to name Agus as Anies’ running mate, Democrat member Herman Khaeron brushed off the suggestion, stressing that the Democrats’ interest was merely to have more time to help Anies improve his electability.
“If the name was only made public at the time of presidential registration, [we would only have] 75 days [of campaign period], which is not enough time. The Democrats are also responsible to ensure that its candidate wins,” Herman said. (ahw)