February 10, 2023
JAKARTA – Support for Surakarta Mayor Gibran Rakabuming Raka, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s eldest son, to follow in his father’s footsteps is growing, with the Golkar Party hinting that it would back him to run in a gubernatorial race in 2024.
Golkar chairman Airlangga Hartarto had a closed-door meeting with Gibran during the former’s working visit on Monday to Surakarta, in which talks about a possible political deal between Golkar and Gibran were discussed.
Airlangga stopped short of revealing any details about the meeting but when asked about Gibran’s chance to contest in a gubernatorial race, Airlangga praised the leadership of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician in Surakarta.
“The potential is always there, especially as a regional leader,” Airlangga said, as quoted by Tempo.co.
A Golkar elite of the Central Java branch, Juliatmono, who was also present at the meeting, was more candid about his support for Gibran’s gubernatorial run, saying that he would back whichever race Gibran would choose to contest.
“This is our boss in Surakarta. I’m ready to be on his campaign team,” Juliatmono said while shaking Gibran’s hand at his official residence.
In January, Defense Minister and Gerindra Party leader Prabowo Subianto also expressed his support for Gibran to run for governor of either Jakarta or Central Java. Jakarta was led by Jokowi from late 2012 to late 2014 before he was elected as president.
Gibran has said he is ready to contest a gubernatorial race in 2024 if he were nominated by Megawati Soekarnoputri, the chairwoman of the ruling PDI-P of which he is a member, like his father.
Speculation has been rife that Gibran is looking to follow in his father’s footsteps ever since PDI-P executive Eriko Sotarduga said internal support had been growing for the party to nominate Gibran as its Jakarta gubernatorial candidate, paired with Social Affairs Minister Tri Rismaharini.
The Central Java governorship, which is currently held by fellow PDI-P member and apparent presidential hopeful Ganjar Pranowo, has been cited as another possibility for Gibran.
A survey by pollster Charta Politika in October 2022 found Gibran to be the most popular possible contender for Central Java governor with 37.7 percent of respondents favoring him.
The top seats in Jakarta and Central Java are generally seen as a springboard to the presidency.
Kaesang Pangarep, Jokowi’s youngest son and a businessman, also plans to run for regional leaders elections. The news was revealed to the family over dinner at Jokowi’s private residence in Surakarta, according to Gibran in January.