November 9, 2022
JAKARTA – President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has made an off-the-cuff remark that appears to endorse Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto as the country’s next head of state.
Speaking during an event marking the anniversary of the United Indonesia Party (Perindo) on Monday, President Jokowi said he expected Prabowo to win the presidential election in 2024, the same year that his second and final term ends.
“I won the election twice. My apologies, Pak [Mr.] Prabowo. But it seems that after this, it will be Pak Prabowo’s turn,” Jokowi said with a chuckle.
Prabowo, who has been nominated by his Gerindra Party to contest the 2024 presidential election, stood up from his seat in the audience, raising his hands to salute President Jokowi.
Jokowi then teased Prabowo by asking him in what official capacity he was attending the Perindo anniversary celebrations: “as the defense minister or the Gerindra chairman? Or both?”
The former three-star general agreed to make his third bid for the country’s highest office after Gerindra executives and members unanimously nominated him as the party’s presidential candidate in August, during its national leadership meeting in West Java.
Prabowo has consistently ranked among the leading potential contenders in recent opinion polls alongside Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo and former Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan.
But even before Monday’s quip, Jokowi signaled last week that he had thrown his weight behind the Gerindra chair’s 2024 candidacy, while he was inaugurating the 2022 Indo Defense Expo & Forum with Prabowo.
“I don’t need to give him my blessing. I already endorsed his candidacy from the start,” he said at the time.