JAKARTA: The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) on Friday (April 21) announced that Central Java governor Ganjar Pranowo will be its presidential candidate for the upcoming election next year.
Head of PDI-P Megawati Soekarnoputri made the announcement during a meeting of her party which was streamed online.
“(In the name of God), I appoint Ganjar Pranowo, current governor of Central Java and party cadre, I add his duties to become a presidential candidate ...,” said Mdm Soekarnoputri.
She was accompanied by President Joko Widodo and her daughter Puan Maharani, who is the head of PDI-P’s political and security unit.
After Mdm Soekarnoputri’s announcement, Mr Widodo said that the next leader needs to continue the fight of the Indonesian people and carry out visions such as uniting the citizens and maintaining tolerance in the country.
Jokowi, as the president is popularly known, said he appreciates Mdm Soekarnoputri’s announcement as the public has a right to know the presidential candidates since the election is nearing.
“Mr Ganjar (Pranowo) is a leader who is close to the people, who always approaches them and is very ideological,” he said.
Following the announcement, Mr Pranowo said he is honoured to have received the appointment.
“Of course this will not be easy … therefore, I ask for your support,” he said.
Mr Pranowo added: “Hopefully, I will be capable (of running). God willing I will fight.”
Last year, Mr Pranowo indicated his readiness to run for the presidential race during an interview with local media BeritaSatu. Pollsters had also continuously ranked Mr Pranowo as a strong potential presidential candidate.
Prior to the Friday announcement, local media reported that Mdm Soekarnoputri wanted to nominate Puan Maharani - who is also the parliamentary speaker - as PDI-P’s presidential candidate. However, polls had shown that Puan Maharani’s electability is below 10 per cent.
To nominate a presidential candidate, a party must obtain at least 20 per cent of the total seats in parliament or obtain 25 per cent of votes in the previous legislative election.
PDI-P is the only party that meets this criterion as it has 22.26 per cent of the seats in parliament. Other parties must form a coalition if they want to nominate a presidential candidate.
Potential presidential and vice-presidential candidates must then register themselves with the elections commission this October if they want to contest in the polls on Feb 14, 2024.
According to analysts, a grand coalition for the upcoming Indonesian election may be on the cards. The parliament’s second biggest party Golkar has formed a coalition with Partai Amanat Nasional (PAN) and Partai Persatuan Pembangunan (PPP). Named Koalisi Indonesia Bersatu (KIB), it holds 25.73 per cent of the parliament seats.
Meanwhile, the third largest party in parliament, Gerindra, has formed a coalition with the National Awakening Party (PKB). Together, the Koalisi Kebangkitan Indonesia Raya (KKIR) has 23.66 per cent of parliament seats.
The two coalitions and Jokowi had met earlier this month, triggering speculation that a grand coalition may be in the works.
Jokowi, who is a member of PDI-P, became Indonesia’s president in October 2014. He is constitutionally barred from a third term in office. This means that Indonesians will be electing a new head of state to lead the world’s third-largest democracy next year.