JAKARTA: The big question in Indonesian politics these days is who will be nominated for the country’s deputy president post in the 2019 Presidential Election (Pilpres 2019).
The current President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has already been nominated for the presidential post for the 2019-2024 term by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), when its leader Megawati Soekarnoputri officially made the announcement on Feb 23.
It is believed that Megawati will also be determining the candidate to be paired with Jokowi for the post of deputy president.
The deadline for the registration of presidential candidate pairs for next year’s election is Aug 10.
Indonesian political analysts and media view Jokowi, 57 as the strongest candidate for the presidential post and predicted an easy win for him in Pilpres 2019.
However, the candidate chosen for his running mate will potentially affect the level of support he receives from Indonesians.
Jokowi became Indonesia’s 7th president on Oct 20, 2014 after winning Pilpres 2014 with his running mate, Deputy President Jusuf Kalla. Jusuf Kalla, however, announced that he would not be contesting in Pilpres 2019.
According to the Indonesian news agency Antara, Jokowi had actually already selected his running mate: “I will announce it at the right moment. Be patient,” he was quoted as saying.
The Indonesian media has, since last week, been reporting on multiple meetings between Jokowi and several political leaders including Megawati Soekarnoputri. It is believed they had been discussing candidates for the post of deputy president.
The media has also come up with its own shortlist of potential contenders for the post.
Among them are the United Development Party (PPP) chairman Muhammad Romahurmuziy, the National Awakening Party (PKB) chairman Muhaimin Iskandar, the former National Armed Forces (TNI) chief and current Presidential Chief of Staff, Moeldoko and the Chairman of the Party of the Functional Groups (Golkar), Airlangga Hartarto.
During Pilpres 2014, PDI-P won 109 of the People’s Representative Assembly (DPR) seats and is supported by Golkar parties (91 seats), the National Mandate Party (48 seats), PKB (47 seats), PPP (39), NasDem (36) and the People’s Conscience Party (16 seats).
Indonesia’s current opposition parties are the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) who owns 73 seats, the Prosperous Justice Party (40 seats) while the Democrat Party which won 61 seats decided to become an independent party at the DPR.
Gerindra, which previously said that it would nominate its leader Prabowo Subianto as a presidential candidate for Pilpres 2019, has yet to officially do so.
The Indonesian General Elections Commissions Komisi Pemilihan Umum has set the deadline for the registrations of presidential pairs on Aug 10 while Pilpres 2019 will take place in April next year. – Bernama
* Bernama’s correspondent in Jakarta, Mohd Shukri Ishak, shares his observation on Indonesia and its people.