Jokowi was defeated in the last two presidential elections.
Jokowi’s son tries again as his running mate
Jokowi, seeking hereditary succession, receives unusual support
Opposition: “No intervention in presidential election”
The presidential election will be held on the 14th in Indonesia, the third most populous democratic country in the world after India and the United States. About 204.8 million people, or about 73% of the population, will exercise their right to vote on this day.
This presidential election is attracting attention due to the unusual structure in which President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), who came to power as the first popularly elected president in 2014, supports the opposition party candidate instead of the candidate of the ruling Democratic Party of Struggle. President Joko Widodo is explicitly supporting his political opponent, Prabowo Subianto Guerindra Party candidate (72), who ran against him in both the 2014 and 2019 presidential elections. This is because Prabowo’s running mate and vice presidential candidate is his eldest son, Ghibran (37).
Behind the scenes, there is an uneasy relationship between President Joko Widodo and former President Megawati Sukarnoputri, who is Indonesia’s first female president and the daughter of first President Sukarno and exerts strong influence on the Democratic Party of Struggle. President Joko Widodo recognizes that former President Megawati not only treated him poorly but was also hostile to Gibran. Accordingly, there is an interpretation that he chose to extend his power by joining hands with his political opponent and running her son as the opposition party’s vice presidential candidate.
In the Indonesian presidential election, the candidate who receives a majority of the votes in the first round of voting on the 14th and at the same time receives more than 20% of the votes in more than half of the 33 provinces (17 provinces) wins. If both conditions are not met, the first and second place candidates will hold a runoff election on June 26.
In a poll conducted by public opinion research company LSI from the 29th of last month to the 5th of this month, Candidate Prabowo’s approval rating was 51.9%. Anis Baswedan, the candidate for the Coalition for Integration and Change (23.3%), was significantly ahead of the candidate for the Democratic Party of Struggle, Ganjar Pranowo (20.3%). If this approval rating is maintained, there is a possibility that the election will be confirmed in the first round of voting.
Candidate Prabowo is the person who ran against President Joko Widodo in the past two presidential elections. As if he had forgotten this past, he emphasized throughout this campaign that he would inherit the policies of the Joko Widodo government and open the era of ‘Jokowi 3.0’. He declared several times that his successor would be Gibran. Although it is the end of his term, it is interpreted as a move to absorb President Joko Widodo’s high approval rating of about 80%. President Joko Widodo also released footage of his private meeting with candidate Prabowo last month.
However, candidate Prabowo, the current Minister of Defense, is not free from criticism of human rights abuses, so there is a possibility that he may not achieve a majority in the first round of voting. He served in key positions under former President Suharto, a former military dictator, and is suspected of being involved in the kidnapping and torture of democracy activists and human rights abuses in East Timor demanding independence.
In Indonesia, after independence in 1945, until President Joko Widodo came to power, only military members or their descendants were in power, so there is great antipathy toward military dictatorship. Seo Ji-won, a professor in the Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations at Seoul National University, analyzed, “Candidate Prabowo, who has a strong ‘strongman’ image, is trying to create an image like a ‘cute grandfather,’ but his unfavorability is considerable.”
There is also considerable criticism following President Joko Widodo’s attempt at a hereditary succession. Throughout his reign, he devoted his energies to making Ghibran, the eldest of his two sons and one daughter, his political successor. It is assessed that Gibran’s ability to serve as mayor in Surakarta (Solo), where his father served as mayor in the past, from 2021 was also possible thanks to his father’s halo.
There is also considerable controversy surrounding his eligibility to run. Initially, he was unable to run due to the election law that states that ‘candidates for president and vice president must be over 40 years old.’ However, the Constitutional Court, which is full of pro-Jokowi figures, including President Joko Widodo’s brother-in-law, ruled that this law was unconstitutional, so he was able to run.
Accordingly, criticism is pouring in from all over that Jokowi and his son are undermining the foundation of democracy. According to local media such as Compass, professors from major universities, including President Joko Widodo’s alma mater, Gajah Mada University, recently issued a joint statement urging President Joko Widodo to “stop interfering in the presidential election.” On the 7th, hundreds of university students also protested in the capital Jakarta.
The hashtag ‘#AsalBukan02 (everyone except number 2)’ is also trending on social media such as Major foreign media outlets, including the Guardian, are also criticizing it as a ‘resurrection of a political dynasty.’
Mark Jones is a world traveler and journalist for News Rebeat. With a curious mind and a love of adventure, Mark brings a unique perspective to the latest global events and provides in-depth and thought-provoking coverage of the world at large.