We’re almost exactly one month away from the registration deadline for candidates competing in the 2019 presidential election and as of yet no tickets have been officially announced. With time ticking away, much of the focus now is on guessing who Gerindra Chairman Prabowo Subianto will tap to be his running mate and, based on the statements of various party representatives, Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan increasingly looks like his likely pick.
Anies met with Prabowo on Saturday for a meeting to discuss the possible team-up following reports that the Jakarta governor had performed well within Gerindra’s internal polling as well as those of outside survey groups.
“Pak Prabowo was responding to growing talk about Pak Anies Baswedan, including from political party figures and the public, about his high probability (of success in 2019),” said Gerindra Executive Board Vice Chairman Ferry Juliantono on Saturday as quoted by Detik.
However, Ferry also made clear that Anies was not the only VP option being considered, mentioning that PAN Chairman Zulkifli Hasan and Democratic Party politician Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono (son of former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono) had also fared well on the party’s internal surveys.
Anies denied that he had taken the meeting to ask for Prabowo’s “blessing” to join his ticket and has thus far avoided further statements on whether he would be joining the Gerindra chairman’s campaign, saying he was just “focusing on Jakarta”.
Although Prabowo has officially been nominated by his party as their presidential candidate, he cannot officially register his candidacy until Gerindra forms a coalition with other parties large enough to meet the required political support threshold. While Anies is officially an independent, he supposedly has strong supporters backing his VP run in Gerindra as well as PAN and PKS.
“Insha Allah, Gerindra’s coalition parties, PKS, PAN have accepted Mas Anies to advance as vice president with Pak Prabowo.The coalition parties are basig this based on growing talk (about Anies) in society these days,” Anggawira said in a written statement picked up by Liputan 6 on Saturday.
PAN and PKS are considered the two parties most likely to back Prabowo’s candidacy, though neither has yet to make any commitment.
Talking up the possible pairing further, Anggawira said, “The best possibility is Prabowo-Anies. Mas Anies is a brilliant symbol of Islamic nationality today, and, of course, Pak Prabowo understands it and blesses it.”
Should Prabowo pick Anies as his running mate, it would create a similar situation to when Joko Widodo chose to run as president while he was still in his first term as governor of Jakarta, opening up the possibility of Vice Governor Sandiaga Uno having to take over as capital’s top executive (as former Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama did when Jokowi defeated Prabowo in the last presidential election).
Sandiaga, who is also a member of Prabowo’s presidential campaign, said that the possibility of Anies being named the Gerindra chairman’s VP pick was a real dilemma for him, as he believes Anies would be a good complement to Prabowo but he would also be saddened by his leaving the Jakarta governorship, which Sandiaga reportedly expressed by putting his hands up to the sides of his head and making a sad face.