Jokowi, Ganjar ‘inseparable’, PDI-P says as Gibran aids in unofficial campaign

It points to the fact that Jokowi has handpicked members for a campaign team for Ganjar, called “team seven”.

Dio Suhenda

Dio Suhenda

The Jakarta Post


Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo (second right), the presidential candidate of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), shakes hands with members of the public during a visit on June 25, 2023, to a low-income residential area in Pademangan, North Jakarta.(Antara/Aditya Pradana Putra)

July 24, 2023

JAKARTA – The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) said President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo had handpicked members of a campaign team for Ganjar Pranowo, reiterating its claim that the President was fully behind its presidential candidate.

Ahead of the presidential election in February next year, speculations have been rife that Jokowi has not been willing to commit solely to Ganjar, with some political analysts believing the President might prefer his long-time rival-turned-ally, Gerindra Party chairman and its presumptive presidential nominee Prabowo Subianto, to be his successor instead.

Jokowi’s eldest son, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, has also been subject to similar speculations after the Surakarta mayor met with Prabowo in May, which prompted the PDI-P central board to summon Gibran to the party’s headquarters in Jakarta for clarification of the controversy but chose to let him off without any sanctions.

But just as the PDI-P looks to kickstart its official presidential campaign for Ganjar in November, the party recently said in a press release that Jokowi and Ganjar remained “inseparable”. It pointed to the fact that Jokowi has handpicked members for a campaign team for Ganjar, called “team seven”, as evidence of the President’s support for his fellow party politician, while Gibran has begun his task to accompany Ganjar during his unofficial campaign starting over the weekend.

While it remains unclear who the members of the team are, PDI-P secretary-general Hasto Kristiyanto said last week that it consisted of Jokowi’s own communication team, who he claimed had been assigned to closely follow Ganjar over the past month.

“The President previously said there must be a grand strategy [for Ganjar’s presidential campaign], both in terms of communicating [with the public] and in building Ganjar’s own vision [as President],” Hasto said during a training session held by the PDI-P for Ganjar’s campaigners on July 17.

“[Jokowi’s] communication team is known to be very reliable and skilled in understanding Jokowi’s type of leadership. [And the team] has now spent one whole month understanding the leadership of Ganjar,” he added.

Some 300 people attended the PDI-P’s training session, including politicians from the ruling party and its electoral allies, the United Development Party (PPP), Perindo Party and Hanura Party, as well as some 150 volunteers.

Perindo chair Hary Tanoesoedibjo has said the “team seven” was proof of Jokowi’s support for Ganjar’s presidential bid, and that with the President’s support, Ganjar’s camp is confident that it can win next year’s presidential election.

“[We are confident] also because we also have Gibran as one of the campaigners,” Hary said on July 18.

Kicking off his task of canvassing for Ganjar on an unofficial campaign trail over the weekend, Gibran accompanied his party senior during a visit to Cibinong Market in Bogor regency, West Java.

When asked by reporters about his relationship with other presidential hopefuls, Gibran said that, while he was “close” with both Prabowo and opposition figurehead Anies Baswedan, he was “closest” with Ganjar. Gibran also said he was ready to accompany Ganjar on more outings, if the party gave the orders.

The next day, Gibran again accompanied Ganjar on a morning jog in Surakarta, Central Java, where Gibran was pictured wearing a striped black-and-white shirt, which is quickly becoming Ganjar’s own trademark campaign outfit.

Also in Surakarta on Sunday, Ganjar accompanied Jokowi during an inspection of repair works in an arterial road in the city. Jokowi praised the Central Java governor for keeping up the maintenance of roads in the province.

The campaign season will officially begin in late November. But three prominent aspirants for the country’s top office, Ganjar, Prabowo and Anies, have embarked on unofficial campaign trails to gauge and attract support, undertaking activities that range from blusukan (impromptu visits) to local markets to greeting supporters in rally-like events and making appearances at local mosques.

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