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Indonesia’s defence minister Prabowo, Jokowi’s son last pair to register as candidates for 2024 election

JAKARTA: The third and last pair of candidates for Indonesia’s presidential election next year have registered themselves at the country’s general elections commission on Wednesday (Oct 25).

The duo – Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto and Solo Mayor Gibran Rakabuming Raka – registered as the presidential and vice-presidential candidates respectively on the last day of the week-long registration period that began on Oct 19.

They were accompanied by the chairmen of the various parties within Mr Subianto’s Onward Indonesia Coalition (Koalisi Indonesia Maju).

Wearing matching light blue shirts, Mr Subianto and Mr Raka arrived at the elections commission at around 11.20am, after addressing thousands of their supporters for the first time as a pair earlier in the day at a Jakarta stadium.

During the event, Mr Raka told the packed stadium that he would roll out loans for digital startups, focus on developing green economy and continue the development of the mineral processing industry in Indonesia should he be elected.

“We all believe that existing programmes have advanced Indonesia. Our job is to continue and create perfect programmes related to youth, the millennials and Gen Z,” said Mr Raka, who was an entrepreneur working on building startups before entering politics.

Thousands of supporters accompanied the pair to the election commission, playing loud cheerful music and chanting “Go Prabowo! Prabowo will be president!”

Supporters were also seen waving banners depicting pictures of Mr Subianto and Mr Raka.

Some also wore t-shirts embroidered with Mr Subianto’s face, while others waved the flags of the parties in the Onward Indonesia Coalition.

The parties in the coalition are: Mr Subianto’s Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), National Mandate Party (PAN), Golkar, the Democratic Party, Star Crescent Party (PBB), the Indonesian People’s Wave Party (Gelora), Garuda Party, the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI) and Aceh Party.

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Mr Subianto, 72, announced Mr Raka as his running mate on Sunday, days after two other pairs of contenders had registered themselves last week.

Mr Raka belongs to the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), which has thrown its support behind a different pair of hopefuls.

Former Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan, 54, and the chairman of the Islam-based National Awakening Party (PKB) Muhaimin Iskandar, 57, were the first to register on Oct 19.

The second pair who also registered that same day was former Central Java governor and PDI-P’s Ganjar Pranowo, 54, as well as his running mate Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Mahfud MD, 66.

When asked by CNA whether he is still a member of the ruling PDI-P, Mr Raka – the vice-presidential hopeful – played coy.

“I met and spoke with Mdm Puan (house speaker, PDI-P member, daughter of chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri) on Friday,” said Mr Raka, who did not answer when asked what the meeting was about nor when pressed about his membership with the party.

“I’d like to thank everyone who has accompanied us to the election commission today,” said Mr Raka whose political career began in earnest in Feb 2021 when he became the mayor of Solo city in Central Java.

Despite some protests in recent days and concerns that Indonesia will have a new political dynasty consisting of Mr Widodo’s family, supporters believe that Mr Subianto and Mr Raka should be the next leaders of Indonesia.

The pair appears to be the preferred presidential and vice-presidential candidates of choice for 49-year-old street food vendor Siti Maryam.

“I like Mr Subianto because he is a brave and strong man,” said Mdm Maryam.

She arrived at the election commission at 8am to see and show her support for Mr Subianto and Mr Raka.

Mr Budi Susanto, 25, is also a fan of the retired general and former entrepreneur.

“I think they make a good pair. One is experienced, while the other one is young,” said Mr Susanto, a freelance writer.

According to pollster Lembaga Survei Indonesia (LSI) on Oct 22, Mr Subianto and Mr Raka are leading with 35.9 per cent, followed by Mr Pranowo and Mr Mahfud at 26.1 per cent. In third place are Mr Baswedan and Mr Iskandar, whose popularity rating is 19.6 per cent.

The election commission will announce the candidates’ eligibility to run on Nov 13 before campaigning starts on Nov 28.

Indonesia is set to hold general elections on Feb 14.

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