January 6, 2023
JAKARTA – Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo’s electability has ticked up slightly amid speculation that the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) matriarch Megawati Soekarnoputri will make her final decision on the party’s 2024 presidential candidate during the party’s upcoming 50th anniversary celebrations.
A survey by Indikator Politik released on Wednesday showed that Ganjar had maintained his front-runner status and seen his electability rise to 32.8 percent in December, up from 30.8 percent in the previous month, while House Speaker Puan Maharani, his rival for the party nomination, remained at the bottom rank in the same month with 1.9 percent.
Ganjar’s rising electability coincided with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s improvement in his approval rating in the same month to 71.3 percent, his highest since August, bolstered by the public’s positive perception of Indonesia’s hosting of the Group of 20 Summit.
“Ganjar’s electability is framed by Jokowi’s approval rating. It’s easy to explain this, as they are both from the PDI-P, Ganjar is probably considered a ‘mini’ Jokowi,” pollster Indikator Politik Indonesia executive director Burhanuddin Muhtadi said.
The survey, conducted from Dec. 1-6 last year with 1,220 respondents, showed that under a top-three potential candidates simulation, Ganjar enjoyed a 7.5 lead over former Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan, who has overtaken Defense Minister and Gerindra Party leader Prabowo Subianto to second place since November.
In contrast to Ganjar, Anies, perceived by many as the figurehead of the opposition, experienced a decline in his electability in December.
While a November survey pegged him within striking distance of Ganjar with a 32.2 percent rating, the latest survey had him at 28.3 percent, just ahead of Gerindra’s Prabowo at 26.7 percent.
“One of the things we found in the survey is that Jokowi’s approval rating has an impact on candidates that are associated with, or stand in opposition to, the President,” said Burhanuddin.
“Even though Jokowi is barred constitutionally from running again in 2024, if, for example, Jokowi’s government is perceived positively, it usually has an effect on the party or presidential candidate associated with Jokowi”.
Ganjar’s rising electability came as the country’s largest party the PDI-P geared up to name its presidential nomination sometime this year.
Party insiders believe Megawati will make her final decision on the party’s presidential candidate during a five-month series of PDI-P anniversary celebrations that will open on Jan. 10.
Asked whether Megawati will name the party’s candidate during the event, Hasto Kristiyanto, the secretary-general of the PDI-P, said that Megawati would announce the name “at the right moment” this year.
“The presidential candidate from the PDI-P will be announced in 2023. The chosen candidate must certainly have the capacity to continue the struggle of Bung Karno, Ibu Mega, and Pak Jokowi. The candidate will be carefully prepared to become a leader who can assume the role responsibly for the future,” Hasto said.
Hasto added that Megawati would have an intense dialogue with grassroots members of the PDI-P, especially the party’s regional branches and party task forces, during the coming anniversary celebrations.
Previously, Megawati had asked party members to patiently wait as she calculated her final decision on the presidential nomination to bag “a hattrick victory” in the upcoming elections.
The party’s matriarch will face a tough choice: whether to pave the way for another political “outsider” to help the party win the election or to push for her political heir to maintain the Sukarno dynasty’s stranglehold on the party. The PDI-P’s nomination will follow careful and thorough consideration, Hasto said, stressing that Megawati had her own calculations and would not merely rely on electability ratings.
“All prospective leaders, especially the presidential candidate, will have gone through very thorough calculations and this has been tested since the 2014-2019 presidential election and on the placement of regional heads from PDI-P members,” Hasto said.
“It will be a very comprehensive calculation because what Ibu Mega is preparing is a leader who must be supported by the party. Because a leader alone is not enough without the backing of a party as a collective force that supports all of the leader’s policies,” Hasto said.