September 25, 2023
JAKARTA – Kaesang Pangarep, the youngest son of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, has officially become a formal member of the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI) after weeks of speculation.
PSI chairman Giring Ganesha symbolically presented Kaesang with an oversized mock-up of the party’s membership card (KTA) during an event on Saturday at the Presiden’ts private residence in Surakarta, Central Java. Also attending the event were Kaesang’s wife Erina Gudono as well as the PSI board of trustees’ deputy chair Grace Natalie and secretary Raja Juli Antoni.
Kaesang decided to become a member of the PSI, which he saw as “comprised of highly competent young people with integrity” and a spirit to “make a better Indonesia”.
“We have a similar motivation to push more young people to be more involved in the public sector,” he added.
Kaesang said he had been communicating with party officials long before eventually deciding to join last week after receiving his wife’s blessing.
On Wednesday, the party uploaded a video to social media showing the silhouette of a man identified only as “Mawar” (rose), who spoke of his aspiration to make his first foray into politics. Many netizens likened the male figure and voice to Kaesang’s.
Known for his internet savvy, Kaesang started out as a blogger and a YouTube personality before launching several food and beverage businesses.
He was previously unaffiliated with any political party, but has been hinting at his interest in national politics since the beginning of the year.
In May, the PSI branch in Depok, West Java, announced its intention to support Kaesang if he decided to run in the city’s mayoral election. The PSI’s Depok office also put up a poster of Kaesang on Jl. Margonda, one of the city’s main thoroughfares, which read: “PSI menang, walikota Kaesang” or “PSI wins, Kaesang for mayor”.
The budding politician then dropped hints about his intention to run for Depok mayor.
But the President’s youngest son will need the backing of other parties to run in the mayoral election, as the PSI only holds one out of 50 seats in the West Java Legislative Council, far below the legislative threshold of 25 percent.
Several parties have welcomed Kaesang’s entry to national politics, including the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), which counts among its members his father President Jokowi, his older brother and Surakarta Mayor Gibran Rakabuming Raka and brother-in-law and Medan Mayor Bobby Nasution.
The PDI-P generally requires all members of a family to be party members. Amid the recent rumors of Kaesang’s interest in joining a different party, the PDI-P said it would leave its doors open for Jokowi’s youngest son if he decided to run for public office. (kuk)