Once they were friends, then they were enemies, and now it seems like there’s no rebuilding the figurative bridge between Islamist group Persaudaraan Alumni 212 (PA 212) and Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto if the former’s burn on the latter is anything to go by.
PA 212, which dropped its political support for the Gerindra party chairman after he joined President Joko Widodo’s cabinet as defense minister, said there is absolutely no way that it will support Prabowo should he decide to run for president in 2024.
“I’m sure [Prabowo], whoever he is paired up with, will find it difficult to win 2024,” PA 212 leader Slamet Ma’arif said today.
“[Prabowo] wouldn’t want to run again. He’d be ashamed of being a perennial losing presidential candidate.”
Prabowo, who lost to Jokowi in two successive elections, has yet to even indicate that he would run in 2024, though recent surveys place him comfortably ahead of the likes of Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo and Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan.
Barring constitutional changes, Jokowi is not eligible to run for a third term in office.
Prabowo led a coalition of opposition parties backed by hardline Islamic groups — which have banded together under PA 212 — in their attempt to disrupt the dominance of the supremely dominant government coalition led by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).
PA 212 distanced itself from Prabowo after the former military general publicly made peace with Jokowi following the 2019 election. The group was utterly betrayed when he joined the president’s cabinet.
That said, PA 212 has lost a lot of its political sheen since the 2019 election, especially with one of its prominent leaders Rizieq Shihab sentenced to prison for flouting COVID-19 protocols.