After Ganjar Pranowo’s endorsement, Indonesia Looks Set for Three-horse, Two-round 2024 Race

After Ganjar Pranowo’s endorsement, Indonesia Looks Set for Three-horse, Two-round 2024 Race
Ganjar Pranowo's presidential candidancy

JI-Jakarta. Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) Chair Megawati Soekarnoputri on Friday officially announced Ganjar Pranowo as the party’s presidential candidate for the 2024 elections. She also tasked Puan Maharani, her daughter, with assembling a team to win the presidential and legislative elections.

President Jokowi praised Ganjar as a figure close to the people, willing to blend in, and ideologically driven. Observers say this decision is very logical given Ganjar’s high electability and ability to benefit the party.

Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo, who is a presidential candidate from the PDI-P said that he is ready to continue President Jokowi’s grand work if he wins the 2024 presidential election. According to him, continuing Jokowi’s development work is the first step to creating Indonesia’s economic progress.

A number of political parties have expressed interest in joining PDI-P to help Ganjar Pranowo win the 2024 presidential election, an executive with the ruling party said. The People’s Conscience Party (Hanura) is the first to publicly announce support for Ganjar.

“In the coming weeks, there will be another declaration of support for PDI-P’s presidential nominee Ganjar from another political party,” PDI-P Secretary General Hasto Kristiyanto told reporters in Jakarta.

Indonesian voters are highly likely to be casting their ballots in a three-horse presidential race come 2024, following the surprise nomination of Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), quashing hopes for a quick election with the establishment of a “grand coalition” of pro-government parties.

Now that Ganjar is on the PDI-P’s ticket, chances are high that the presidential race will need a second round, given that none of the potential contenders — Ganjar, Anies or Gerindra Party Chair Prabowo Subianto — are likely to garner more than 50 percent of the vote that is legally required to win.

The prospect for the establishment of a grand alliance has grown dim, now that pro-government parties must choose between two strong candidates: Ganjar and Prabowo.

Prabowo Subianto is not interested in becoming a running mate in the 2024 presidential election and will try his luck for a third time for the first time despite back-to-back losses, a close ally said.

According to Leo Suryadinata, Visiting Senior Fellow, ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute and Professor (Adj) at S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) on South China Morning Post, as Indonesia gears up to hold its next presidential election in February 2024, major powers will be hoping that a friendly new president will be voted in amid the U.S.-China rivalry. It seems that Washington has already begun to approach some of the potential presidential candidates to get to know them better, while Beijing has not yet made such moves.

According to recent Indonesian surveys, there are three candidates for president whose electability is above 20 percent: Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, Governor of Central Java Ganjar Pranowo, and Anies Baswedan, former governor of Jakarta. Two of the three potential candidates attended U.S. institutions: Anies’ doctorate is from Northern Illinois University, while Prabowo, like several Indonesian military leaders of his time, attended Fort Benning in Georgia for part of his military training.

In terms of interactions with foreign countries and officials, Ganjar has the most limited experience, given his position as a provincial governor. Nevertheless, he has shown an interest in improving his province’s infrastructure and has visited China to appeal to entrepreneurs to invest in Indonesia, especially in the management of household and industrial waste.

It appears that the United States is trying to get a better sense of Ganjar and Anies as prospective candidates and as leaders; Prabowo is better known already, by virtue of his long career, first in the Indonesian military and later in government.

In October, the U.S. ambassador to Jakarta, Sung Yong Kim, visited Ganjar in Semarang in what seemed to be a low-key meeting, days after NasDem declared Anies as its preferred presidential candidate. In November, Anies was invited to the Bloomberg CEO Forum to speak about his experience as Jakarta governor. As the event took place on the sidelines of the G20 Summit, the U.S. ambassador to Jakarta had lunch with Anies, who revealed on social media that they discussed Jakarta and Indonesian politics.

In February, U.S. ambassador Kim visited PKS headquarters in Jakarta, saying that he wanted to get information on human rights and democracy in Indonesia. The PKS leadership welcomed his visit, calling it a normal “friendly visit.” It is likely that more of these kinds of meetings could happen as the 2024 race shapes up. Washington and Beijing will want a better sense of each front runner, if only to know where the next Indonesian president will stand on the regional and global stages.

Meanwhile, John McBeth, journalist and author on Asia Times, Indonesian Democrat Party of Struggle (PDI-P) leader Megawati Sukarnoputri has finally named enigmatic Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo as her party’s presidential candidate, forced to show her hand earlier than she wanted to by the political fallout from Indonesia losing the FIFA Under-20 World Cup.

The 76-year-old matriarch chose the Bogor presidential palace and the end of Ramadan to make the announcement, watched over by President Joko Widodo and her two children, House of Representatives Speaker Puan Maharani and senior PDI-P executive Prananda Prabowo.

A slump in Pranowo’s poll numbers, due to his support for banning Israel from the football tournament and subsequent moves to form a grand coalition around defense minister and presidential aspirant Prabowo Subianto, left Megawati with little choice than to end the guessing game or risk being left out in the cold.

Party insiders had previously said Megawati was waiting until at least June to announce her choice, hoping to extract further concessions from other parties that hope to join the ruling coalition. The loss of the FIFA tournament changed all that. 

It is becoming increasingly clear which candidates will run in the 2024 presidential election. Political parties nominated three candidates: Anies Baswedan, Prabowo Subianto, and Ganjar Pranowo. Additionally, there are political parties that ask their chairs to run for president. 

Ganjar Pranowo-I Wayan Koster. Foto diambil dari Kompas TV

In advance, the election management body needs to move more quickly and decisively. Voters must also begin paying close attention to the political parties, presidential candidates, and their success teams. Who has the courage to act decisively, and who actually omits something.

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