Indonesia Election 2024: VP Heats Up as Ganjar Wins PDI-P Nomination

Indonesia Election

The 2024 Indonesian general election looks set to be a three-horse race, contested by Ganjar Pranowo of the ruling PDI-P, Prabowo Subianto’s ‘Grand Alliance’, and the opposition’s ‘Coalition for Change’ led by Anies Baswedan. 

Ganjar, as the Central Java Governor is known, was confirmed as the PDI-P’s nominee on Friday and leads most polls by a small margin. 

While the candidates are now unlikely to change, both their running mates and the political map more broadly are still up in the air. 

The PDI-P has governed in a coalition over the past nine years with President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo at its head. 

However, the PDI-P’s singular legislative power since Jokowi’s 2019 re-election means that Ganjar will not need to secure the support of other parties this time round. 

Defence Minister and Gerindra Chairman Prabowo does not have the same luxury – he has amassed five parties into his Gerindra-led alliance, each vying to secure the Vice Presidency for one of their own. 

Self-dependence aside, Ganjar also stands to benefit from his close relationship with Jokowi – a two-time election winner and still respected figure due to his economic policies.  

Regarding a potential running mate, popular football association President Erick Thohir – who doubles as the Minister of Indonesia’s all-important State Owned Enterprises – is seen by many as an astute choice for Ganjar’s running mate.

The Minister-President demonstrated his logistical expertise in managing Jokowi’s 2019 reelection campaign and his efforts to root out corruption from Indonesian football are reflected in strong polling numbers. 

Indeed, 65% believe that he will succeed in tackling corruption in the game. 

Thohir’s business background and economic policy experience as the SOEs Minister might also tick the right boxes with an economy-focused electorate – something that the prudent and electorally successful Ganjar will be all too aware of.

Puan Maharani, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and daughter of PDI-P leader Megawati Soekarnoputri, could also be called up to deputise for Ganjar. 

Megawati is not only a former-President and the second child of the nation’s founding father, but also has the respect and loyalty of the PDI-P at large. 

Her backing, combined with Puan’s recent public service, certainly make the latter a contender for the VP spot. 

Regarding Prabowo’s options, his running mate will have to be drawn from the unwieldy Grand Alliance. The chosen candidate, therefore, will be a ‘first amongst equals’, destined to be resented by the party leaders that miss out. 

Golkar, the National Awakening Party (PKB), National Mandate Party (PAN), and United Development Party (PPP) will all be lobbying Prabowo for representation. 

Though uncertainty remains, the tickets are likely to be finalised before the end of July and official campaigning will begin in September. 

February’s first round of voting, therefore, will be the culmination of more than a year of intense party-political preparations.


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