Jakarta governor among three frontrunners for President

MANY opinion polls and analysis had shown that Jakarta Governor, Anies Baswedan is among the most popular candidates for the 2024 presidential election.

This article was published in The New Straits Times, Malaysia, 19 July 2022. (click here).

Opinion polls consistently ranked Anies among the top three potential candidates. Two others are two-time presidential candidate, Gerindra party chairman (and Defence Minister) Prabowo Subianto, and Central Java Governor, Ganjar Pranowo from the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).

While none of the three have confirmed their 2024 bid to date, a political poll conducted from June 16-21, 2022, by Polmatrix Indonesia showed Anies is now ahead of Subianto and Pranowo. According to the Polmatrix survey, 2,000 respondents representing 34 provinces placed Anies in the first place with a score of 20.8 per cent, Prabowo in second place (19.3 per cent), and Pranowo as third at 18.8 per cent. Polmatrix Executive Director, Dendik Rulianto, said public support for Anies in the presidential candidacy has increased this year.

Another recent survey conducted on June 15-19, 2022, by Parameter Politik Indonesia revealed that in six simulations, Pranowo, Prabowo and Anies consistently topped the list. This survey took 1,200 samples from 34 Indonesia provinces.

Factors in favour of Pranowo include his performance in Central Java province (26.2 per cent), down-to-earth character (24.4 per cent), and a kind person (14.0 per cent), said the survey. Prabowo was chosen because of his military character of being courageous and firm (39.1 per cent) while voters picked Anies due to his good performance and leadership (42.9 per cent) and smartness (10.1 per cent),” said Executive Director of Parameter, Adi Prayitno on July 12, quoted by tempo.co portal.

It seemed people would choose a president due to emotional or psychological reason (52.7 per cent) rather than rational (30.1 per cent) or sociological reasons (2.2 per cent).

Interestingly, the Parameter simulation showed that Anies was said to have a chance of winning if he is paired with Democrat Party chief, Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono (30.5 per cent).Pranowo has the biggest electability (37.2 per cent) if he is joined by West Java Governor, Ridwan Kamil while Prabowo would gain a high number of votes if he partnered with Golkar Party leader, Airlangga Hartarto (27.1 per cent).

As Anies is still unaffiliated to any political party, it is unclear whether he can garner enough support to secure a nomination, though several parties seemed to have approached him including PKS (Prosperous Justice Party), and the National Democrat (NasDem), nominating him as one of three presidential candidates.

On June 17, NasDem, the nation’s fourth-largest party and a member of the ruling coalition supporting Jokowi, officially announced that it would nominate either Anies, Ganjar or the Indonesian Military (TNI) commander Gen. Andika Perkasa — none of whom are the party flag bearers — as its presidential candidates.

Anies Baswedan with Surya Paloh at Nasdem’s head quarter at Gondangdia, Menteng, Jakarta, 24 July 2022. (Source: nasdem.id).

NasDem Party chairman and media mogul, Surya Paloh will decide which of the three would represent NasDem in the 2024 presidential election.

While believing that Anies will become more popular, an analyst quoted by Jakarta Post also said: “…as regards a presidential run in 2024, it is about whether he can find a political party to back him.”

Since he is not a party figure, many political parties would possibly prioritize their cadres to be candidates. PDI-P most probably will enthrone House of Representative (DPR) speaker, Puan Maharani, the daughter of party matriarch, Megawati Soekarnoputri, the PDI-P chairwoman.

With its 22 per cent seats in the DPR, the ruling PDI-P is the only party, from nine parties in DPR, able to nominate a candidate without needing a coalition. The remaining eight parties must seek to confederate with one or two other parties and find a common ground to appoint a candidate due to the existing presidential threshold.

A party or a coalition of parties must have at least 20 per cent seats in the 575-member DPR. Some pundits argue that the 20 per cent presidential threshold was too high. “The number shouldn’t be that high, 10 per cent is ideal. More candidates to run, people will have more figures to elect,” said analyst from Airlangga University, Surabaya, Ali Sahab.

Pro-Anies alliance NasDem support for the Jakarta governor, if approved by Surya, could be a breakthrough.

The Jakarta governor lacks the political support to join the 2024 race as the Democrat Party (with 9 per cent seats) and PKS (9 per cent seats) do not have enough seats to nominate a candidate.

NasDem’s support for Ganjar would also be of benefit to the Central Java governor, given that there is no indication yet that his party, the PDI-P, will field him in the upcoming election. Ganjar is not seen as part of the party establishment and is competing with Puan Maharani for the presidential nomination.

Since NasDem controls only 10 per cent of seats in DPR, the party must align with other parties to nominate a candidate to meet the 20 per cent requirement.


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