President Joko Widodo has practically endorsed Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto to be Indonesia’s next president in 2024.
During an anniversary celebration of the Perindo party attended by the pair in Jakarta on Monday, Jokowi gave a tongue-in-cheek assessment of the future of Indonesian politics after his second and final term ends in two years’ time.
“I won two presidential elections. Apologies, Pak Prabowo. It looks like it’s Prabowo’s turn after this,” Jokowi said with his trademark chuckle, to the amusement of the crowd and a military salute from the former general.
Jokowi beat Prabowo in two successive presidential elections in 2014 and 2019. While the latter campaign was particularly bitterly fought, Jokowi and Prabowo quickly made amends as they sought to bring together a country divided by the election.
In fact, Jokowi appointed Prabowo as his defense minister in 2019, in line with the latter’s military expertise.
Jokowi has been quick to praise Prabowo over the past week. On Nov. 2, in another heavily implied endorsement towards Prabowo, Jokowi said, “We often exchange ideas about Indonesia’s future. Not just often, but actually too often with the defense minister.”
Prabowo, who chairs Gerindra, ostensibly a party in opposition with the government, has hinted but not explicitly declared that he will again run for president in 2024.
If he does, he will likely face strong challenges from younger yet seasoned politicians in Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo and former Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan. Anies, whose five-year term in charge of the capital ended in October, has received an endorsement to run for president from the NasDem party, which is part of the ruling coalition.
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