September 14, 2022
JAKARTA – Outgoing Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan is prepared to embark on a new political journey and answer the “call of duty” if nominated as a candidate for the 2024 elections – whether for the presidency or another term in Jakarta.
Anies, who is not affiliated with any party, said he was “ready to step up” if a political party chose to field him.
“I am getting ready at the moment. If [a party decides] to nominate me, I’ll take it as a call of duty. I will do it,” he said during an interview with The Jakarta Post on Friday. “I’m open to both [gubernatorial and presidential elections].” Anies, who will end his term as governor in October, noted that he would be prepared to join a political party to facilitate the run.
The Constitution does not allow independent candidates for the presidency, and the General Elections Law requires a political party or a coalition of parties to control at least 20 percent of the seats in the House of Representatives to be eligible to nominate a presidential candidate.
“If I am nominated [to run for president], I am required to join a political party. It’s like you should have a company if you want to bid on a construction project. Of course I will do it; it’s part of my responsibility.” he said.
Anies is one of the few prospective presidential contenders who is not affiliated with a party. He has consistently ranked in the top three possible candidates for the presidency in public opinion polls, alongside Defense Minister and Gerindra Party chair Prabowo Subianto and popular Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo of the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).
Enticing the opposition
The governor’s popularity appears to have drawn the attention of several political parties, particularly those outside the pro-government coalition.
The opposition Democratic Party has openly said it is considering pairing Anies with chairman Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono,
According to Democratic Party spokesperson Herzaky Mahendra Putra, the party is in close communication with the Islam-based Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) and the pro-government NasDem Party for a potential alliance for the 2024 general election.
The PKS supported Anies’ 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial bid, while NasDem has recently named Anies one of its three preferred presidential candidates, along with Ganjar and Indonesian Military (TNI) commander Gen. Andika Perkasa, none of whom are NasDem members.
If the Democratic Party, PKS and NasDem formed a coalition, it would represent 28.3 percent of the House’s seats – enough to field a candidate.
Free agent Political analyst Firman Noor of the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) said that compared to Ganjar, Anies had a better chance of earning a nomination because, while both were popular, Anies had no political party affiliations.
“This gives him a lot of flexibility to approach various political parties and ample opportunity to cultivate support to run for the 2024 presidential election,” Firman said.
Ganjar, who will end his governorship next year, is not guaranteed a presidential nomination from his own party, despite his popularity.
The PDI-P’s choice of presidential nominee rests with chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri, who, analysts say, is likely give her daughter, House speaker Puan Maharani, first dibs on the opportunity. Ganjar has said he would only run as a candidate on behalf of the PDI-P.