CNA Explains: Key career highlights of outgoing Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan and what’s next for him
With just around a month left to carry out his duties as the governor of Indonesia’s capital Jakarta, all eyes are on Anies Baswedan who is among the favourites to be declared a presidential candidate in the upcoming 2024 election.
JAKARTA: Anies Rasyid Baswedan has only around a month left to be the top man to govern the Indonesian capital Jakarta as his five-year term will end on Oct 16.
He initially came to the job with his deputy Sandiaga Uno before the latter resigned in 2018 to run as vice president in the 2019 presidential election.
Since then the position of deputy governor was held by Ahmad Riza Patria.
On Tuesday (Sep 13), the Jakarta legislative council proposed three candidates to replace outgoing Mr Baswedan.
Presidential secretariat head Heru Budi Hartono, Jakarta’s provincial government Marullah Matali and Ministry of Home Affairs director general for political affairs Bahtiar, who goes by one name, have been proposed as the potential successor to Mr Baswedan.
While his days as governor are numbered, many believe that this will not be the end of Mr Baswedan’s political career.
Several polls have named him as a potential presidential candidate in the upcoming 2024 election, placing him among the top names such as that of defence minister Prabowo Subianto and Central Java governor Ganjar Pranowo.
HOW HE WON THE GOVERNOR'S RACE
Mr Baswedan, 53, is not a member of any political party but he rose to fame in 2007 as an academic.
At the age of 38, he was appointed the chancellor of Islam-oriented Paramadina University in Jakarta, the youngest chancellor in Indonesia’s history.
He also founded an educational movement called Indonesia Mengajar, where young professionals were recruited to be elementary teachers in rural areas for a year.
His grandfather Abdurrahman Baswedan is of Arab descent and is considered a national hero for his efforts toward Indonesia’s independence.
In 2013, Mr Baswedan took part in a presidential candidate convention of the Democrat Party, the ruling party of then-president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. But he did not win the nomination.
In 2014, Mr Baswedan became the campaign spokesperson for Mr Joko Widodo and Jusuf Kalla who ran for that year’s presidential election.
Mr Widodo won the election and appointed Mr Baswedan as his education minister.
But he only got to serve for less than two years as Mr Widodo suddenly replaced him.
Gerindra then approached Mr Baswedan as a potential candidate for the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election, pairing him with Mr Uno.
They ran against incumbent Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, who is considered a minority in Indonesia, coming from non-Muslim and non-Javanese backgrounds.
Mr Baswedan lost to Mr Purnama in the first round, but then received the backing of hardline Islamist groups including the now-defunct Islamic Defenders Front which led him to win the 2017 Jakarta election.
FOCUS ON INFRASTRUCTURE
Mr Baswedan has focused his efforts on urban infrastructure, including the construction of pedestrian walkways and bicycle lanes.
Some critics have argued that he only focused on aesthetics as the improvements are mainly in Jakarta’s central areas such as Jalan Sudirman and Jalan Thamrin.
Many Jakartans, however, find it difficult to deny that there are overall improvements in the capital city, including many main roads which now look better than what they were five years ago.
Under his watch, parks and open spaces have been spruced up and become Instagrammable spots. These include Tebet Eco Park and Karet Sudirman Bridge.
In the last five years, he also established an integrated public transport system connecting parts of Jakarta with the country’s first Mass Rapid Transit trains.
The city’s buses, the Transjakarta buses, are also running on specially built lanes.
A highlight of Mr Baswedan’s tenure was when Jakarta managed to host Indonesia’s first Formula E race last June at the brand new Jakarta International E-Prix Circuit.
More recently, he also inaugurated a brand new football stadium, the Jakarta International Stadium, which has become a new icon of the capital.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR HIS POLITICAL CAREER?
Some political parties have touted him as a potential presidential candidate, including Nasdem, the country’s fourth-largest political party.
As such, analysts think that it will not be the end of Mr Baswedan’s political career after he leaves office next month.
Political analyst Arya Fernandes believes that what Mr Baswedan needs to do now is to wait until political parties nominate him for the presidential race.
“I think his political career will still be bright,” said the analyst from the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.
Mr Adi Prayitno, a political lecturer with Universitas Islam Negeri (UIN) Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta believes that it is clear that Mr Baswedan has the intention to run in the upcoming 2024 election.
He said there are two important things that Mr Baswedan needs to make sure of if he wants to run in 2024.
“First he needs to make sure he gets the support of political parties that make up 20 per cent of the threshold to nominate a presidential candidate,” said Mr Prayitno.
“So Anies needs to work hard because so far he is being associated with Nasdem but Nasdem has not officially declared (him as its candidate).”
He also needs to make sure that once he is not the governor of Jakarta anymore, his popularity and electability remain stable.
“Because there is the tendency that when one is not a public official anymore, his or her star quality fades,” Mr Prayitno added.
Sharing a similar view is political analyst Ray Rangkuti from think tank Lingkar Madani.
He thinks that Mr Baswedan’s popularity may decline somewhat after he leaves the governor post in October.
There is a strong possibility for this especially when he is compared with defence minister Prabowo Subianto and Central Java governor Ganjar Pranowo who will remain in their respective positions for the time being.
“Does he have enough resources and source of funds (to remain popular)?” asked Mr Rangkuti, adding that if he does not have both, then his chances may fade before 2024.