Prabowo Subianto received a huge boost in his potential bid to run for president in next year’s election today by gaining the endorsement of former president and current Democratic Party Chairman Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY).
After SBY announced last week that he’s closed the door on joining President Joko Widodo’s coalition due to his frosty relationship with PDI-P Chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri, he said that the Democrats were likely to join up with the coalition of opposition parties headed by Prabowo’s Gerindra Party.
Today, SBY made the political alliance with Prabowo all but official, publicly announcing that he, and the Democrats, are endorsing Prabowo for the 2019 presidential election.
“We came with one understanding: Pak Prabowo is our presidential candidate,” SBY told the media after meeting with Prabowo at the latter’s home in South Jakarta today, as quoted by CNN Indonesia.
SBY’s meeting with Prabowo today is the second time the two political powerhouses met in the space of a week. Last Tuesday, Prabowo met with SBY and his eldest son, Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono (AHY), prompting rumors that the young politician is being prepped to be Prabowo’s running mate.
But today, Prabowo said SBY did not seek any political favors for the endorsement.
“He (SBY) left it all to me [who the running mate will be] should I end up being a presidential candidate,” Prabowo told the media, although he did make any comments specifically about whether or not AHY would be joining him on his ticket.
Prabowo, who, unlike Jokowi, has yet to make his candidacy official, needs the support of at least one major party to fulfill the presidential threshold requirement of 20% of seats in the House of Parliament (DPR). As soon as Gerindra’s coalition with the Democrats become official, Prabowo will have surpassed the threshold.
Prabowo still has yet to consolidate his party’s alliances with opposition Islamic parties such as the National Mandate Party (PAN) and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) for next year.
Presidential and VP candidates have until August 10 to register themselves with the General Elections Commission (KPU). A duel rematch between President Jokowi and his 2014 challenger Prabowo seems increasingly likely by the day.