Indonesia’s Prabowo registers in three-way presidential race


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Indonesia’s Prabowo registers in three-way presidential race

PRABOWO AND GIBRAN. Indonesia's defene minister and presidential candidate, Prabowo Subianto, along with his running mate, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, who is the eldest son of Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Surakarta's Mayor, wave after registering themselves for next year's presidential election, at the election commission headquarters in Jakarta, Indonesia, October 25, 2023.

Willy Kurniawan/Reuters

Thousands of cheering supporters meet Prabowo Subianto and Gibran Rakabuming Raka, the eldest son of outgoing President Joko Widodo, as they hand their credentials and manifesto to election officials in the capital, Jakarta

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto and his running mate, the president’s son, registered on Wednesday, October 25, for next year’s presidential election, setting the stage for a three-way race the former military commander is tipped to win.

Nearly 205 million Indonesians, a third of them younger than 30, are eligible to vote in presidential and legislative elections to be held on February 14 in the world’s third-largest democracy.

Thousands of cheering supporters met Prabowo, 72, and Gibran Rakabuming Raka, the eldest son of outgoing President Joko Widodo, as they handed their credentials and manifesto to election officials in the capital, Jakarta.

“We’re ready to go forward with our programs, visions to continue development so that Indonesia can be an advanced and prosperous country,” said Prabowo.

He is contesting the presidency for the third time after narrowly losing in 2014 and 2019 to Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, precluded from running again because of term limits.

In an election manifesto obtained by Reuters, Prabowo pledged to continue construction of Indonesia’s new capital city on the island of Borneo and to further develop downstreaming industries, among Jokowi’s key policies.

He will also seek to achieve self-sufficiency in food, water and energy, while establishing a state revenue agency and looking to boost to 23% the ratio of state revenues to gross domestic product, the document showed, without giving details.

Former special forces chief Prabowo has a narrow lead in opinion surveys over the two other contenders: former provincial governor Ganjar Pranowo and former Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan.

A survey by pollster Indikator Politik released on Friday showed 37% of 4,300 respondents backed Prabowo, while Ganjar had 35% and Anies had 22%. Nearly 7% were undecided, the survey, taken from Oct. 2 to 10, showed.

Prabowo and Gibran, 36, signed up on the last day for registration, following days of political manoeuvring and public outrage over a last-minute court decision on eligibility that allowed Jokowi’s son, a relative newcomer to politics, to run.

Prabowo’s decision to partner with Gibran could attract some of the president’s massive support base, analysts say.

But activists and analysts have raised concerns over what they see as Jokowi’s attempts to retain influence after leaving office.

Analysts say Prabowo, once disgraced by a murky human rights record, has now cultivated a persona that is more charismatic statesman than fiery, pious nationalist to appeal to younger voters.

Earlier on Wednesday Gibran, who is also mayor of Surakarta city, said their ticket would roll out loans for digital start-ups and keep developing the mineral processing industry and green economy.

“We all believe that the existing programmes have brought Indonesia into the gate of advancement,” he told a stadium packed with supporters. “Our duty is to continue and perfect programmes related to youth, millennial generation, Gen Z.” –

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