INDONESIA — Minister of State-Owned Enterprises (BUMN; Badan Usaha Milik Negara) Erick Thohir has refrained from speculating about his chances of running as a vice presidential candidate in the 2024 Presidential Election (Pilpres).
Although he has been encouraged by the National Mandate Party (PAN) to become a vice presidential candidate, Erick believes that this does not guarantee his participation in the 2024 Pilpres.
“When National Mandate Party (PAN; Partai Amanat Nasional) pushes me to become one of the vice-presidential candidates, I must appreciate it, but PAN also understands that the composition (of the presidential and vice-presidential candidates) cannot be achieved if it is not 20 percent,” said Erick at Menara Kompas, Jakarta, on Wednesday (5 Jul).
PAN has urged Erick to run as a vice-presidential candidate, whether it be accompanying Ganjar Pranowo, who is supported by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), or Prabowo Subianto, who is supported by the Gerindra Party.
The latest development is that PAN has set a condition for Erick to become Prabowo’s vice presidential candidate if they are to support Prabowo for the third time.
Erick himself refuses to speculate on this possibility. According to him, PAN has not yet determined its coalition direction, whether it will lean towards Gerindra or the PDI Perjuangan. Erick reminded me that PAN is still part of the United Indonesia Coalition (KIB) with the Golkar Party and the United Development Party (PPP).
“So, in my opinion, it’s too early to tell whether KIB will all move to the PDI-P or United Indonesia Coalition (KIB; Koalisi Indonesia Bersatu) will move to Gerindra. It could happen because it’s still a coalition,” said Erick.
When asked about the possibility of joining a political party, Erick admitted that he has no plans to become a political party member in the near future. “To be part of a party, of course, I haven’t thought about it today. I don’t know about the future,” said Erick.
He also believes that his status as a non-political party member is actually a positive thing for him. According to him, the current position he holds should not be filled by a political party member, but rather by someone who truly becomes the president’s trusted person.
“If the Minister of BUMN is from a political party, I don’t think that’s a good idea. For today and the future, the Minister of BUMN should not be a party member, but rather someone who is trusted by the president,” said Erick at Menara Kompas, Jakarta last Wednesday.
Erick admitted that President Joko Widodo has asked him to remain a professional who is not tied to any political party.
He claimed that there were no instructions from President Joko Widodo for him to run as a vice presidential candidate in the 2024 Presidential Election.
Erick stated that Jokowi has only assigned him tasks as the Minister of BUMN and the chairman of the All-Indonesia Football Association (PSSI).
“Mr President has never instructed me, what he always talks about are assignments,” he said.
Erick also refused to speculate on Jokowi’s influence on PAN, which is currently vigorously pushing him to run as a vice presidential candidate. Erick believes that PAN’s stance is purely part of the dynamics within each political party.
“It’s the dynamics of each political party, like Development Unity Party (PPP; Partai Persatuan Pembangunan) bringing my friend Mr. Sandi, or Golkar bringing Mr. Airlangga, it’s all part of the party dynamics,” said Erick.
Meanwhile, the National Awakening Party (PKB; Partai Kebangkitan Bangsa), which is Gerindra’s coalition partner in the Great Indonesia Awakening Coalition (KKIR; Koalisi Kebangkitan Indonesia Raya), does not find PAN’s plan to support Prabowo by proposing Erick as a vice presidential candidate appealing.
“If they want to join and there are conditions, then it’s not interesting yet,” said Deputy Secretary General of PKB, Syaiful Huda, when contacted by Kompas.com last Monday.
According to Huda, political parties that want to join KKIR should prioritize a shared vision rather than proposing a vice presidential figure.
Moreover, the Chairman of the National Awakening Party (PKB), Muhaimin Iskandar, or Cak Imin, is reportedly still rejecting the idea of Minister of BUMN Erick Thohir becoming Prabowo Subianto’s running mate in the 2024 Pilpres.
Cak Imin stated that Erick Thohir has not lobbied his party to become a potential vice-presidential candidate (cawapres) accompanying Prabowo Subianto. “Not yet (lobbied PKB),” said Cak Imin when asked by reporters at the PKB headquarters on Jalan Raden Saleh, Senen, Central Jakarta.
He mentioned that PKB had not been informed about the plan until now. “Until now, it has never been conveyed to us,” said Cak Imin.
Responding to PKB’s resistance, Erick admitted to having a good relationship with the Chairman of PKB, Muhaimin Iskandar, or Cak Imin. However, Erick acknowledged that they have never discussed the issue of presidential and vice-presidential candidacy.
“Well, indeed, the discussion with Cak Imin does not revolve around that topic. We talk about many other things,” said Erick. He also emphasized that he cannot influence PKB to give him the vice-presidential ticket. Erick understands that he is not a member of a political party but rather a professional worker.
In response to these statements, the Deputy Chairman of Gerindra Party, Habiburokhman, asked the media to directly inquire with Cak Imin.
“Ask Gus Muhaimin,” said Habiburokhman when approached at the Parliament Building, Jakarta last Tuesday.
He stated that the Great Indonesia Awakening Coalition (KKIR) has already given the authority to Prabowo and Cak Imin to determine the vice-presidential candidate.
“We have given the authority to Prabowo and Gus Muhaimin to determine the KKIR’s vice presidential candidate,” he revealed.