Jokowi signals support for Prabowo, revives talk of Prabowo-Puan ticket

Source – November 8, 2022
Prabowo and Maharani riding horses together at Prabowo's residence in Bogor – September 4, 2022 (Media Prabowo

Fitria Chusna Farisa, Jakarta – Institute for Democracy and Strategic Affairs (Indostrategic) Executive Director Ahmad Khoirul Umam says that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's statement on the chances of Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto winning the 2024 presidential elections (Pilpres) reveals many political signals.

One of these is the strengthening of the discourse on a duet of Prabowo and ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) leader Puan Maharani as presidential (capres) and vice presidential (cawapres) candidates in the coming elections.

"A positive signal bringing together the PDI-P and the Gerindra-PKB coalition will revive the schema of a Prabowo-Puan presidential and vice presidential ticket as something reasonable to consider", Umam told on Monday November 7.

Umam suspects that Widodo's statement was an indication of the PDI-P's openness to joining a coalition with Prabowo's Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) and the National Awakening Party (PKB).

In August Gerindra declared the readiness of its general chairperson Prabowo to step forward as a presidential candidate. Meanwhile the seat for Indonesia's number 2 position to accompany Prabowo remained empty.

According to Umam, the is a good possibility that the PDI-P will put forward its crown princess and daughter of PDI-P chairperson Megawati Sukarnoputri, Puan Maharani, to accompany Prabowo.

"Jokowi's statement strengthened the political signals for the PDI-P to draw closer to the Gerindra-PKB coalition", he said.

Umam is of the view that Widodo's statement on the possibility of a Prabowo victory was not just political pleasantries.

The reason being that this is not the first time the number one person in Indonesia has signalled his support for Prabowo. Previously, Jokowi said that right from the start he has supported the Defense Minister.

Umam believes that with each statement Widodo is reinforcing his support for Prabowo to step forward as a presidential candidate. "Twice now Jokowi has made statements of support for Prabowo, on two consecutive occasions he has clearly asserted this position", said Umam.

"If the statement was just a political nicety, clearly it would be unproductive and in fact would trigger negative sentiments from Prabowo's supporters towards Jokowi who would be seen as offering false hopes", continued the Paramadina University lecturer.

Earlier, Widodo touched on the possibility of a Prabowo victory as a presidential candidate. During an event attended by Prabowo, Widodo said that he has already won two presidential elections and suspects that the next election will be won by Prabowo.

"Twice I won [the election] as mayor of Solo city [in Central Java]. Then, I was drawn to Jakarta, and won the governorship. Then, I also won the presidential elections twice. I apologies for [beating you twice], Pak [Mr] Prabowo", said Widodo during his greetings at a United Indonesia Party (Perindo) anniversary event in the Kebon Sirih area of Central Jakarta on Monday.

"It looks like after this it will be Pak Prabowo's turn", he continued.

Widodo's statement was greeted by boisterous laughter and applause by those present. Prabowo meanwhile, who had been seated with other guests in the front row, rose from his seat and gave a salute to Widodo.

Following the event, Widodo was asked by journalists about his support for Prabowo. The president said that it's no problem if his remarks are seen as a sign of support for the Defense Minister as a presidential candidate.

"Yes, well it can be interpreted as a signal, but it's also okay for me to just say it", he said.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Jokowi Lempar Sinyal Dukungan Capres, Wacana Duet Prabowo-Puan Menguat Lagi?".]