January 25, 2023
JAKARTA – With a year to go before Indonesia’s general election, a survey conducted by President Joko Widodo’s camp has thrown up the strong possibility of pairing its leading presidential aspirant, Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo, with West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil as vice-president.
The election is scheduled to be held on Feb 14, 2024, and the survey was commissioned in December by those close to Mr Widodo, who is serving his second and final term in office.
The survey, involving 1,200 respondents across Indonesia, was not intended to be made public. The findings will be used by the Jokowi camp to analyse and strategise.
Mr Widodo’s ruling coalition, led by Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), has 471 out of 575 seats in Parliament.
The survey results seen by The Straits Times show that Mr Ridwan, 51, is the most electable vice-presidential candidate if the election is held in December 2023.
Even though his name was not among the simulated pairing in the survey, Mr Ridwan received 24.1 per cent of support from the respondents.
The second-best vice-presidential hopeful, Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno, received only 14.8 per cent of support.
A person from Mr Widodo’s camp told ST on condition of anonymity that the widely touted simulated pairing of Mr Ganjar and Minister of State-Owned Enterprises Erick Thohir did not receive the level of support that makes the camp confident enough that they will win.
“The margins between Ganjar-Erick pairing and the Anies-AHY pairing are not comfortably wide enough,” he said, referring to former Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan, the closest rival presidential aspirant from the opposition camp, and Mr Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, popularly known by his initials. He is the son of former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
The Ganjar-Erick pairing received 38.6 per cent, while the Anies-AHY pairing had 30.4 per cent, according to the survey.
Mr Agus, 44, is chairman of the opposition Democratic Party, while Mr Erick is a close aide of Mr Widodo and was among the largest donors to the latter’s presidential campaign in the past two elections.
Mr Ganjar, 54, has a law degree from the University of Gadjah Mada in Yogyakarta and a political science master’s degree from the University of Indonesia in Jakarta. He worked at a consultancy firm before becoming a PDI-P MP and was then elected Central Java governor in 2013.
Mr Ridwan earned a master’s degree in urban design from the University of California, Berkeley. In 1994, he was selected as a Singapore International Foundation-Asean fellow and was at the National University of Singapore as an exchange student.
He worked as an architect in New York, San Francisco and Hong Kong, before becoming Bandung mayor in 2013 and West Java governor in 2018 on different party tickets. He recently joined the Golkar party, a member of the ruling coalition.
Mr Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, is hoping his successor will follow through on his projects, including the development of Nusantara, a new administrative capital. The current government is targeting to move people there in 2024.
The survey confirmed that Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto has fallen to third from second in the top three list of the most electable presidential candidates.
It also found that Nasdem Party has upped its electability rating by about 1 percentage point in the past several months to 5.1 per cent.
On Oct 3, 2022, the party officially declared that it will field Mr Anies, 53, as its presidential candidate. Since late 2022, Nasdem has been on a political roadshow across the country with Mr Anies to meet potential voters.
Mr Ganjar and Mr Anies have been deemed by many, including Ms Putri Khairunnisa, head of the National Committee of Indonesian Youth, as among the most likely next leaders of Indonesia.
Taking a neutral stance, she said: ”Ganjar is a leader who strongly protects the less privileged grassroots. Anies is a leader who delivers. Each of them has his strength.”