May 10, 2023
JAKARTA – Less than a month after leaving pro-government Gerindra Party, former vice-presidential candidate in 2019, Sandiaga Uno, hinted at his interest in joining the opposition Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) as the latter welcomed the possibility of pairing him with its presidential candidate Anies Baswedan in 2024.
“I have been [working] with PKS numerous times. [My] colleagues at PKS have proven to be fighters who work wholeheartedly, unyieldingly and tirelessly. I feel like I want to fight again with [my] PKS colleagues,” Sandiaga said on Sunday as quoted by kompas.com.
“PKS has an extraordinary commitment to Indonesia, so hopefully, God willing, a path will be opened [for us] to fight together,” he added.
Sandiaga, who currently serves as the tourism and creative industry minister in the Cabinet of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, ran as Prabowo Subianto’s running mate in the 2019 presidential race, which they eventually lost to Jokowi and Vice President Ma’ruf Amin by a wide margin.
The politician departed last month from Gerindra, which helped him win the Jakarta vice governor post in 2017 after he submitted his resignation letter and apologized to the party chairman Prabowo.
Speculations of a strained relationship between Sandiaga and Prabowo arose earlier this year as the former appeared to harbor the political ambition to run in the upcoming presidential race and get cozier with the Muslim-based United Development Party (PPP).
Sandiaga has not announced his future plan as he said he was “in no rush” in deciding his next move.
When asked about the possibility of Sandiaga joining PKS, also a Muslim-based party but with a different voter base, chairman Ahmad Syaikhu said on Monday he would welcome him into the party.
While the PKS has previously pushed for former West Java governor Ahmad Heryawan to run with Anies, Syaikhu raised the possibility of making Sandiaga the running mate of Anies in the coming presidential race, in a repeat of the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election. PKS already formed an electoral alliance with the opposition Democratic Party and the pro-government NasDem Party, named the Coalition for Change and Unity (KPP), a political vehicle for Anies in 2024.
“[The possibility] is very open. If Sandiaga and Anies can find chemistry and the results of our analysis in the survey also the chances of winning for 2024, it’s not impossible; maybe we’ll nominate [him] again,” Syaiku said.
The alliance has yet to reveal who will be Anies’ running mate, but it already has five names in mind, with the final decision left in Anies’ hands.
“Of course, politics is dynamic and it is still very possible [the Anies-Sandiaga pair] could happen. Therefore, we, in the alliance and as agreed in its charter, will hand over this vice-presidential issue to our presidential candidate, Anies,” Syaikhu said.