‘God willing, we will have a female president in 2024’: House Speaker Puan Maharani

Indonesia’s House Speaker Puan Maharani. Photo: Facebook/Puan Maharani
Indonesia’s House Speaker Puan Maharani. Photo: Facebook/Puan Maharani

House of Representatives (DPR) Speaker Puan Maharani has given arguably her strongest hint yet that she would run for president in 2024, as she seeks to follow in the footsteps of her mother Megawati Soekarnoputri.

During a visit to Lampung yesterday, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician sought to empower the country’s women to be more active in politics.

“In Lampung, there have been many female regents. We (Indonesia) have also had many female ministers, we’ve had a female vice president, and a female president,” she said.

The latter two are posts held by her mother from 1999-2001 and from 2001-2004, respectively. Indonesia has not had a female vice president or president since, nor did it have either before Megawati.

“God willing, in 2024 we will once again have female regional heads, female ministers, and a female president,” Puan added.

It appeared that she was talking herself up for the country’s top job. Born to a de facto Indonesian royalty, the granddaughter of Indonesia’s founding father and first president Soekarno has had an unremarkable track record in governance despite rising up through political ranks to now lead DPR — a job she has held since 2019. She is also the only woman that has so far been tipped to run for president in 2024.

If she does, she may face formidable rivals in the form fellow PDI-P politician and Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo, Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan, and Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, who lost to President Joko Widodo in the 2019 election.

In a recent independent survey, the three men scored electability scores of 27.8 percent, 24.6 percent, and 13.2 percent, respectively. Puan came seventh in the poll — the only woman in the top 10 — with a score of 1.7 percent.

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