October 23, 2023
JAKARTA – Indonesia’s Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto has announced that he will run for president in the 2024 election with Mr Gibran Rakabuming Raka, the elder son of President Joko Widodo, as his running mate.
The Prabowo-Gibran team will be up against two other pairs who registered their candidacy with the General Elections Commission on Thursday – former Central Java governor Ganjar Pranowo with Security Minister Mahfud MD, and former Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan and his running mate Muhaimin Iskandar, a former lawmaker and minister.
Electability surveys have ranked Mr Prabowo, 72, and Mr Ganjar, 54, as the top two contenders in the presidential race, with each garnering about 30 per cent of support.
Trailing in third place is Mr Anies, 54, with about 20 per cent support. The rest of the electorate are undecided.
In a statement read out by Mr Prabowo on Sunday night, the Indonesia Onward Coalition announced its support for him as its presidential candidate and Mr Gibran as vice-presidential candidate.
The coalition comprises Mr Prabowo’s own party Gerindra, the country’s oldest party Golkar, the National Mandate Party, the Democratic Party, and four small parties which have no seats in the House of Representatives.
This makes Mr Prabowo the presidential nominee with the biggest political support in the current race.
Earlier on Saturday, Golkar proposed Mr Gibran as its vice-presidential candidate. Like his father, Mr Gibran is a member of the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).
A senior Golkar politician had said that the 36-year-old might join the party through its youth wing, but Mr Gibran rejected the claim.
Mr Gibran became eligible to contest the vice-presidential post after a controversial court ruling last Monday that allowed those aged below 40 to run for president or vice-president provided they have served as elected regional leaders. Mr Gibran is mayor of Surakarta, popularly known as Solo.
President Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, has come under mounting criticism for supposedly building a political dynasty before he steps down in 2024, after serving the maximum two terms.
The Constitutional Court which made the ruling that paved the way for Mr Gibran to contest was led by Mr Widodo’s brother-in-law, Chief Justice Anwar Usman.
Mr Arya Fernandes, a researcher who leads the politics and social change department at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, told The Straits Times that the controversial court ruling may create a negative sentiment among voters, affecting Mr Prabowo’s electability.
He noted that there was public backlash to the court decision, which was seen by some as a way for the President to retain political influence.
“A number of people who voted for Mr Jokowi supported Mr Prabowo because the President threw his weight behind him. But they may shift to Mr Ganjar now,” he said.
Meanwhile, the President’s younger son, Mr Kaesang Pangarep, 28, was appointed leader of the Indonesia Solidarity Party just a few days after joining, while his son-in-law Bobby Nasution, 32, is the mayor of Medan, the provincial capital of North Sumatra.
When asked if he was seeking to build a political dynasty, Mr Widodo said on Oct 13: “Just leave it to the people.”
More than 204 million voters are eligible to cast their ballots on Feb 14, 2024.
Mr Ganjar and Mr Mahfud are supported by the PDI-P, United Development Party, Perindo Party and Hanura Party.
As for Mr Anies and Mr Muhaimin, they are backed by the Coalition of Change for Unity, comprising the NasDem Party, National Awakening Party and Prosperous Justice Party.