INDONESIA — As the 2024 presidential election draws closer, the direction of President Joko Widodo’s (Jokowi) support has become increasingly unclear. Speculations have arisen regarding the successor who will receive Jokowi’s endorsement.
Although Jokowi’s party, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP), has officially endorsed their chosen presidential candidate, Ganjar Pranowo, there seems to be a sense that Jokowi’s support is not fully directed towards the Governor of Central Java.
Jokowi’s close relationship with Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto has led the public to speculate that Prabowo may be the preferred choice over Ganjar.
In response to rumors of Jokowi supporting Prabowo Subianto in the 2024 presidential election, PDIP Secretary-General Hasto Kristiyanto clarified that it is not true that Jokowi, as a PDIP cadre, would choose Prabowo Subianto as his preferred candidate for the 2024 elections.
“I want to make it clear that Jokowi choosing Prabowo is not true,” Hasto firmly stated during the Regional Working Meeting of PDIP in West Sumatra, held in Padang on Tuesday (4 Jul), as reported by Tribunnews.com.
Hasto also reminded everyone that during the previous National Meeting (Rakernas) III, PDIP affirmed that President Jokowi’s policies, legacy, and programs would be continued by their endorsed presidential candidate, Ganjar Pranowo.
“In the context of maintaining a conducive national situation, PDIP supports the President’s positive interactions with potential presidential candidates,” Hasto said.
He further assured that Jokowi, as a PDIP cadre, is aligned with the party’s policies. The President has provided guidance on how to achieve Ganjar Pranowo’s victory as a presidential candidate.
Supporting Hasto’s statement, the Chairman of PDIP’s Central Executive Board (DPP), Nusyirwan Soejono, confirmed that President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) fully supports the potential presidential candidate, Ganjar Pranowo, in the 2024 elections.
“Oh, that’s absolutely true (Jokowi fully supports Ganjar). President Jokowi is a PDIP cadre, so it is only natural for him to provide full support,” said Nusyirwan during the Third National Work Meeting (Rakernas) of PDIP at the PDIP Party Headquarters in Lenteng Agung, South Jakarta, on 6 June, which was also attended by President Jokowi in his capacity as the President of the Republic of Indonesia.
Nusyirwan also responded to the news of President Jokowi’s support for Prabowo Subianto, the Chairman of the Gerindra Party, in the 2024 presidential election. According to him, Jokowi’s support for Prabowo is merely a perception. “The support for Mr Prabowo is just a perception,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Puan Maharani, the Chairwoman of PDIP’s Central Executive Board in the field of politics, revealed signals that President Jokowi wishes for his leadership to be continued by the endorsed PDIP presidential candidate, Ganjar Pranowo.
“And he hopes that what has been implemented can be continued by PDIP and its future president,” said Puan during a press conference at the PDIP’s Rakernas in Lenteng Agung at that time.
However, Puan refused to claim that President Jokowi’s presence and statements were a form of support for Ganjar. She expressed concern that it might be perceived as President Jokowi exerting too much influence.
Therefore, Puan urged the public to interpret President Jokowi’s guidance given during the PDIP’s Rakernas and determine for themselves whether it implies Jokowi’s desire for Ganjar to succeed him.
Adian Napitupulu, a politician from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP), has revealed that he directly asked President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) about his stance regarding the support for presidential candidates in the upcoming 2024 elections. Adian stated that he first raised the question around July 2022.
According to him, President Jokowi mentioned the name Ganjar as his choice. Adian further recounted a recent conversation he had with President Jokowi while accompanying him on a working visit to Pasar Parung in Bogor.
“In Parung, he mentioned Ganjar’s name,” Adian said during the program Talks Politics With Reinhard at the iNews Tower in Jakarta on Monday, July 10, 2023. Adian also mentioned that he asked President Jokowi again about his support for the 2024 presidential election to confirm his previous question.
Adian inquired about whom Jokowi would support, to which the President reportedly replied, “Ganjar, Ganjar Pranowo. That’s what he said to me.”
Separately, Sufmi Dasco Ahmad, the Deputy Secretary-General of the Gerindra Party, considered the recent meetings between President Joko Widodo and Prabowo Subianto, who is also the Minister of Defense, as nothing extraordinary.
Dasco stated that it would be unusual if a minister rarely reports to the President. He believed that as a presidential assistant, Prabowo would provide reports and coordination.
Regarding whether Jokowi would support Prabowo in the 2024 presidential election, Dasco expressed that Gerindra would be grateful if such support materialized.
“The matter of supporting or being supported is the right of every individual. So, whoever supports Mr. Prabowo, we are grateful and appreciate it,” he said.
The two political elites have also had several face-to-face meetings. Throughout June 2023, they even held three meetings.
The first meeting took place at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta on 9 June 2023. At that time, the proposal for Russia-Ukraine peace, suggested by Prabowo, was a hot topic.
Bey Machmudin, the Deputy of Press, Protocol, and Media at the Presidential Secretariat, stated that Prabowo was summoned because there were matters that needed to be discussed with Jokowi. However, he did not disclose the details of their meeting.
A week later, on 18 June, Jokowi again invited Prabowo for a lunch meeting at the Presidential Palace in Bogor. The moment of their meeting was shared by Prabowo on his official Instagram account, @prabowo.
“That day’s meeting left an impression,” said Prabowo at the Ministry of Defense Office in Central Jakarta on Monday, June 19, 2023.
Jokowi acknowledged that the meetings in Bogor did touch on political issues. “Yes, mainly about politics. I speak candidly,” said Jokowi in Gresik on Tuesday, June 20, 2023, as quoted from YouTube Kompas TV.
However, Jokowi considered his meeting with Prabowo as a common occurrence. He admitted that he frequently meets with his ministers not only on weekdays but also on weekends.
“That’s normal. I meet with ministers from Monday to Friday, but also on Saturdays and Sundays, as usual. It’s just that some meetings are uploaded and some are not,” stated Jokowi.
However, Prabowo did not deny that there were political discussions between him and the head of state. Jokowi inquired about Prabowo’s future plans in the political arena.
“He asked about my future plans and so on,” Prabowo said after the meeting.