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Jakarta Post

Throne called presidency

  • Editorial Board

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, July 8, 2019   /   09:02 am
Throne called presidency President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo (center), who is running for a second term, and his running mate Ma’ruf Amin (second left), along with presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto (second right) and his running mate Sandiaga Uno (right), release pigeons during a peace declaration for the 2019 election campaign at the National Monument in Jakarta. (The Jakarta Post/Wendra Ajistyatama)

The presidential election, which this year was held simultaneously with the legislative election for the first time ever, was undoubtedly the country’s most-anticipated political event. It was a time when people wanted their opinion about their leader to be heard, which was translated into the vote they cast in the polling booth.

The enthusiasm to participate in the presidential election was seen in the increase in voter turnout, which stood at 80 percent this year, up from 69 percent for the presidential election and 75 percent for the legislative election in 2014. Voter turnout was 79 percent in 2009, down from 84.07 percent in 2004 and 92.74 percent in 1999 — the first democratic election held after reform in 1998.

The reelection of incumbent President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, who had picked Ma’ruf Amin as his running mate, has at least created political certainty until 2024, when the next presidential election is scheduled to take place. Jokowi will be unable to contest in 2024 as the Constitution says an individual can only hold the highest office for two terms.

As our Special Report today reveals, people are eagerly debating who will run in the 2024 presidential election, as Jokowi’s reelection has leveled the playing field. Many political parties nominated him — or expressed a shift of allegiance to him after he won — with a view of equal opportunity for all in the 2024 race.

Read also: Level playing field for young candidates in 2024 presidential poll

Such eagerness was reflected in a survey recently conducted by the Indonesian Survey Circle (LSI) on potential presidential candidates for 2024. The poll resulted in 15 names who may be aspiring to succeed Jokowi.

Most of the potential candidates are figures who hold government posts, such as Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan, West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil and Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo. Also included on the list are a number of Cabinet ministers, police personnel and military generals. Unsurprisingly, Prabowo Subianto, who just lost to Jokowi for a second time in a row, is also listed as a potential contender.

Many have criticized the LSI survey as premature because many things could happen and totally change the political landscape in the next five years. Critics also described the survey as hasty and improper as Jokowi will only begin his second and final term in October.

However, the LSI survey was not conducted without any grounding. Political parties and politicians invested in the 2019 presidential and regional election in part for their 2024 plan. Several names on the LSI list have reportedly formed their own campaign teams to help them realize their 2024 ambitions. They have also hired media teams to market them and build their image.

Nothing is wrong with the efforts in question. The survey benefits voters as they will have five years to scrutinize potential candidates, especially their track record and achievements, so that when the time comes they will vote for the right figure to take the helm.