PDI-P likes its chances against Prabowo’s new alliance

Senior PDI-P member Said Abdullah said the party was still confident that it could win the presidency for a third consecutive time in 2024.

Dio Suhenda

Dio Suhenda

The Jakarta Post


An official from the General Elections Commission introduces five different ballots for the 2019 general election at the KPU building in Central Jakarta in 2018. PHOTO: THE JAKARTA POST

August 15, 2023

JAKARTA – Facing a newly formed alliance of four pro-government parties supporting Gerindra Party patron Prabowo Subianto for the presidency, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), which is backing Ganjar Pranowo for the position, has said it remains confident it will win the 2024 election.

On Sunday, Golkar Party chair Airlangga Hartarto and National Mandate Party (PAN) chair Zulkifli Hasan announced that their parties had entered into an alliance with Gerindra and the National Awakening Party (PKB) to back Prabowo in the February 2024 presidential election.

The four-way alliance controls more than 46 percent of the seats in the House of Representatives. The PDI-P’s alliance, meanwhile, consisting of the United Development Party (PPP) and two parties not represented in the legislature, Hanura and Perindo, currently controls around 25 percent of House seats.

Senior PDI-P member Said Abdullah said the party was still confident that it could win the presidency for a third consecutive time in 2024.

Citing President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s victory in the 2014 presidential election, Said Abdullah claimed the PDI-P had a track record of winning against bigger opponents.

“According to our political beliefs, with smart work and empathy for the grassroots community, we are confident we can get more support [than Prabowo] in the 2024 election,” he told The Jakarta Post on Monday.

Said Abdullah also said the PDI-P’s confidence was bolstered by the parties that made up its alliance, as it could rely on the PPP to attract Muslim voters, Hanura to win over voters outside of Java and Perindo – led by media mogul Hary Tanoesoedibjo – for media exposure.

Vying for VP

The new four-way alliance among Gerindra, PKB, Golkar and PAN may make it harder for the PDI-P to pick PKB chair Muhaimin or State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Minister Erick Thohir as Ganjar’s running mate. Erick, who has enjoyed strong opinion polling for the VP position, is not a member of any party, but PAN has proposed him as a possible running mate for either Prabowo or Ganjar.

Muhaimin and Erick are both on the PDI-P’s shortlist of potential VP candidates, along with PPP politician Sandiaga Uno, Democratic Party chair Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono and former Indonesian Military (TNI) commander Andika Perkasa.

“We are still considering the five names [on the shortlist], since the situation is still very dynamic,” Said Abdullah said.

The PPP, however, believes Sandiaga is now a top candidate for Ganjar’s running mate, claiming Muhaimin and Erick are more likely to join Prabowo’s camp, while political analysts say Andika and Agus were the least likely options to begin with.

“This new composition [of electoral alliances] has increased the chance of Sandiaga being picked as Ganjar’s vice presidential candidate,” senior PPP politician Muhammad Romahurmuziy said on Sunday, as quoted by Kompas.com.

Speculation has persisted that the PDI-P might eventually be willing to nominate Ganjar as Prabowo’s running mate, which would imply the formation of a grand alliance of pro-government parties.

Yenny as wild card

Activist Yenny Wahid, daughter of late president and Islamic scholar Abdurrahman “Gus Dur” Wahid, has in recent weeks emerged as a possible contender for VP. She is not on the PDI-P’s shortlist.

While Yenny’s ties with Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the country’s largest Muslim organization, could be an asset on a party ticket, opinion polls suggest she is not currently a popular candidate for the vice presidency.

Speculation that the PDI-P might be considering a Ganjar-Yenny pairing was fueled by a Sunday meeting of the two figures. Yenny told reporters after the meeting that she had not discussed politics with Ganjar, but she also said she would be open to doing so at a later date, Kompas.com reported.

Days before, Yenny said in a televised Kompas TV interview that she was “ready” to be vice president and that she had close connections with all three presidential contenders.

Yenny’s name first emerged as a potential running mate for opposition figurehead Anies Baswedan.

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