A Closer Look on Indonesia’s Presidential Candidates.
Indonesia is on the verge of a significant political transformation as the 2024 presidential election looms large. Three formidable candidates have officially registered with the general elections commission, each vying for the chance to lead Southeast Asia’s largest economy into a prosperous future by 2045, coinciding with Indonesia’s 100 years of independence.
The three Indonesian candidates who have registered with the general elections commission to run for the presidency are former Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan with Muhaimin Iskandar as his vice president candidate; former Central Java governor Ganjar Pranowo with Prof. Mahfud MD as his vice president candidate; and Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto with Gibran Raka his vice president candidate. Let’s dive into the profiles and visions of these candidates who are poised to shape the nation’s destiny.
Anies Baswedan and Muhaimin Iskandar
Baswedan’s vision revolves around ensuring access to quality and affordable public services, education, healthcare, and fostering economic opportunities in underdeveloped areas. Iskandar’s economic goals include achieving an average growth rate of 5.5% to 6.5% and maintaining inflation within the range of 2% to 3%. Anies Baswedan also emphasizes the creation of at least 14 new economic growth centers outside of the Java island, marking a commitment to decentralize economic development. Their other visions are to fund political parties, to stop the violations of human rights, especially to children and indigenous, and to stop confiscation of assets such as what happened to some Indonesian islands i.e. Remang Island.
Ganjar Pranowo and Prof. Mahfud MD
Ganjar envisions boosting Indonesia’s economic growth to an ambitious 7% during his potential five-year presidential term, although there are many criticisms that 7% growth is wishful thinking based on Indonesia’s economic records. His platform focuses on eradicating illegal fees, streamlining services to be faster and more affordable, and enhancing governance in the tax office.
Ganjar aims to develop a more skilled workforce in science and technology while building a national digital system to accelerate Indonesia’s economic development. He also plans to uphold Indonesia’s business reputation by appointing technocrats to key positions and increasing investment in the manufacturing sector. Ganjar will not allow the (infrastructure) development carried out by Jokowi to halt,” and he wants to ease the process of investors to invest in Indonesia. Ganjar has often been compared with Jokowi because of the pair’s casual and approachable leadership style and habit of visiting places that other top politicians and public officials hardly ever set foot on, such as traditional markets, villages and poor urban neighbourhoods.
Prabowo Subianto and Gibran Raka
Prabowo emphasizes Indonesia’s commitment to a free and active foreign policy while promoting peace in the region. He was known to have a protectionist style of leadership. Notably, he supports enhancing Indonesia-China relations and a comprehensive strategic partnership. Prabowo once made a statement that Indonesia must emulate China’s attempts to alleviate poverty, which he considers a success story, in a relatively short time. However, it’s important to acknowledge that Prabowo lacks extensive experience in economic matters. Prabowo and Gibran’s promises include upholding the downstreaming policy, which restricts the export of vital raw materials like nickel, of which Indonesia possesses 52% of the world’s total reserves. They want to Indonesia to be self-sufficient in the energy sector by prioritizing energy transition. They also prioritize the eradication of corruption in sectors that impact the well-being of the population, including agriculture, rural areas, fisheries, education, healthcare, forestry, natural resources, and labour.
In a recent survey of 2,567 people conducted from October 16 to 20, Prabowo emerged as the frontrunner with 37% support, followed by Ganjar with 34.8% and Anies with 22%. The 2024 presidential election holds the promise of generational change in Indonesian politics. President Jokowi, lacking such lineage, is leveraging his incumbency to influence the next generation of leaders through strategic alliances and power concentration within his family.
Ironically, these tactics may indicate that the political strategies that have dominated Indonesian politics for the past two decades, marked by dynastic politics and power concentration, may persist even as the original tacticians evolve and transition to a new era in the world’s third-largest democracy.