November 14, 2023
JAKARTA – The candidacy of three pairs of presidential and vice-presidential candidates was formally accepted on Monday by Indonesia’s General Elections Commission (KPU) for the Feb 14 election in 2024, with observers expecting a second round of voting for the top two pairs.
The six men had passed all the administrative screening and medical examinations, and had the requisite backing from political parties or alliances of parties, KPU commissioner Idham Holik said.
Candidates in the presidential race can be fielded only by a party or alliance of parties that hold at least 20 per cent of seats in Parliament, or won at least 25 per cent of the overall votes in the previous election.
The three pairs in the contest are former Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan, 54, and his running mate, former minister Muhaimin Iskandar, 57; former Central Java governor Ganjar Pranowo, 55, and chief security minister Mahfud MD, 66; and Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto, 72, and Solo Mayor Gibran Rakabuming Raka, 36, the elder son of President Joko Widodo.
Official campaigning will be from Nov 28 to Feb 10, 2024, although the candidates had started their publicity rounds weeks ago on social media and with posters and banners seen along many major roads all over the country.
According to the latest opinion survey released on Sunday by Indikator Politik Indonesia, Mr Prabowo has widened his lead over his strongest rival, Mr Ganjar.
Some 39.7 per cent of respondents said they would vote for Mr Prabowo. Support for Mr Ganjar, who is backed by the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, was 30 per cent.
The survey of 1,220 people was conducted between Oct 27 and Nov 1, after Mr Gibran was named as Mr Prabowo’s running mate.
In Indikator’s previous surveys released on Oct 26, support for Mr Prabowo was 36.1 per cent while Mr Ganjar had 33.7 per cent.
Mr Anies stayed in the third position, polling 24.4 per cent in the latest survey, compared with 23.7 per cent previously.
More than 200 million people qualify to vote in the February polls.
Observers say that with the top two pairs polling below 50 per cent – the threshold to win the three-way fight outright on Feb 14 – there is likely to be a run-off between the top two contenders, which has been slated for June 26.
“It would be quite logical if there will be a second round of the voting,” said Professor Firman Noor, a senior researcher at the Political Research Centre of the National Research and Innovation Agency.
As the campaign starts, candidates who are not leading the polls might catch up, reducing the chances of a quick win for the dominant pair, he added.
The last time Indonesia held two rounds of the presidential polls was in 2004, when former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his running mate Jusuf Kalla beat their rivals, Ms Megawati Sukarnoputri and Mr Hasyim Muzadi.