High political temperature in Indonesia
JI-Jakarta. Riding on President Jokowi’s popularity and exploiting his 36-year-old son Gibran Rakabuming Raka’s youthful image to win over young voters are among key reasons why Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto has picked the latter as his running mate in contesting the upcoming Indonesian presidential election, say analysts.
They believe the move could give the 72-year-old Subianto, a third-time presidential hopeful, a boost in extending his lead over two other contenders. But in the long run, observers say the pick of Gibran as vice-president candidate comes with high stakes that could impact Indonesia’s politics going forward and possibly even hurt its democracy.
The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) has expressed its dismay at a move by its 2024 electoral rivals to pit Surakarta Mayor Gibran Rakabuming Raka, a prominent member of the party, against the PDI-P’s own nominee in the upcoming presidential race.
The party has, however, remained mum on the status of President Jokowi’s eldest son, who says he has surrendered his fate to the PDI-P leadership.
The Constitutional Court dismissed three separate petitions to cap the maximum age for presidential and vice presidential candidates at 65 or 70, and introduce provisions to prevent repeat bids or individuals linked to rights abuses from running for the country’s highest office.
The court’s decision upholds the status quo and appears to clear the path for presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto, now aged 72, a three-time candidate with a murky past that has haunted his previous bids, to run in 2024.
The Indonesian Democracy Defense Team (TPDI) and the Indonesian Advocates Association (PAN) reported President Jokowi and his family to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) on alleged nepotism by the president’s family.
TPDI Coordinator M. Erick said that TPDI and PAN were taking issue with the decision of the Constitutional Court (MK) which paved the way for the candidacy of Gibran Rakabuming Raka, Jokowi’s son in the 2024 presidential election.
Apart from Jokowi, the group also dragged Constitutional Court Chief Justice Anwar Usman, Jokowi’s eldest son Gibran Rakabuming Raka, and Jokowi’s youngest son Kaesang Pangarep.
Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI) Executive Director Djayadi Hanan said 57.6 percent of the 24 percent of citizens who know that Constitutional Court (MK) Chief Justice Anwar Usman is President Jokowi’s brother-in-law said the MK’s ruling on the age limit for presidential and vice presidential candidates was an unfair decision.
“In other words, if for example there are more people who know that the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court is the President’s brother-in-law, then the assessment that the MK’s decision is very unfair because it benefits the President’s family will be even more,” Djayadi said.
Chief Legal Affairs Minister Mohammad Mahfud voiced his criticism of recent rulings by the Constitutional Court which allowed for the amendment of an article in the 2017 general election law related to the age limit for presidential and vice-presidential candidates.
According to him, the primary responsibility of the Constitutional Court is not to create new laws but to annul any regulations or laws that are in conflict with the Constitution.
Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI) Chair Kaesang Pangarep officially declared PSI support for the pair Prabowo Subianto and Gibran Rakabuming Raka in the 2024 presidential election.
With the joining of PSI, the coalition supporting Prabowo-Gibran now consists of eight political parties including the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), Party of Functional Groups (Golkar), National Mandate Party (PAN), Crescent Star Party (PBB), Democratic Party, Garuda Party, People’s Wave (Gelora) Party, and Just and Prosperous People’s Party (Prima).
Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) Central Council Chair Mardani Ali Sera expressed disagreement and concern that the 2024 regional elections will be moved to September from the initial plan of November 2024.
According to Mardani, this concern arose because Jokowi will still be President in September 2024 and will only retire in October 2024. Mardani said that if the elections were brought forward to September, the potential for abuse of power would be very large.
Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto and his running mate, the president’s son, registered for next year’s presidential election, setting the stage for a three-way race the former military commander is tipped to win.
Prabowo, in an 88-page manifesto, pledged to push ahead with construction of a new capital city on the island of Borneo and to develop mineral processing industries, among Jokowi’s key policies.
The addition of Gerindra Party chair Prabowo Subianto and running mate Gibran Rakabuming Raka as the third presidential pairing in next February’s election has rounded up what analysts expect to be a highly contested three-horse race that will almost certainly necessitate a runoff.
With the official campaign opening only on Nov. 28, political analyst Firman Noor of the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) believes everything is still to play for, as all three presidential candidates remain largely competitive with each other.
According to Straits Times, Indonesia’s election season has kicked off, but the weak economy is not playing ball.
Not only is the country grappling with a falling rupiah, food insecurity and a current account deficit, but investors are also staying on the sidelines until a winner emerges from the Feb 14 poll.
Political observers say the state of the economy not only affects voter sentiment towards the incumbent government, but could also stoke instability when campaigning kicks off in November.
In a bid to prevent unpleasant surprises, business groups have proposed road maps to be adopted by all presidential candidates participating in next year’s general election.
Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo) chairwoman Shinta Kamdani claimed that all three candidate pairs pursued the same goal of elevating the country to the status of a developed economy by 2045.
“Whoever wins, that is [going to be] the direction,” Shinta told reporters on Tuesday at the 11th US-Indonesia Investment Summit in Jakarta, expressing confidence that any of the three presidential candidates would continue down the road paved by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.