Yustinus Paat, Jakarta – The National Mandate Party, or PAN, has selected nine figures for its potential candidate for the 2024 presidential election, but it turns on Prabowo Subianto who the party supported in the last two elections.
Prabowo, who has confirmed that he will run again in the presidential race, remains one of the most popular candidates according to nearly all surveys by major pollsters.
During the party's national congress in Jakarta on Saturday, PAN Chairman Zulkifli Hasan cited nine names he claimed were the aspirations of all regional chapters.
The nine potential candidates are classified into three categories: those with strong political party ties, a technocrat, and regional leaders.
The first category includes Zulkifli himself, Golkar Party Chairman Airlangga Hartarto, United Development Party (PPP) Chairman Suharso Monoarfa, and House of Representatives Speaker Puan Maharani.
PAN, Golkar, and PPP have formed a coalition called the United Indonesia Coalition for the 2024 legislative and presidential elections.
The sole "technocrat" to join the list is State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir. "PAN regional representatives consider Erick Thohir as a worthy candidate for the 2024 presidential election," Zulkifli told the congress.
The rest are four governors on the most-crowded island of Java namely Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo, Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan, West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil, and East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa.
"They are proposed by regional chapters and we will make a decision at the proper time," said Zulkifli, who is also the trade minister.
PAN is a key member of the political coalition that nominated Prabowo in the 2014 presidential election when then PAN Chairman Hatta Rajasa was the running mate.
Five years later, PAN again threw its weight behind Prabowo as disagreements with incumbent Joko "Jokowi" Widodo grew.
Now with Zulkifli serving in his cabinet, the president was present virtually in the congress to deliver opening remarks.
Jokowi told PAN members to refrain from sectarianism in the upcoming election in an apparent reference to the last two elections in which political rallies and campaigns were marred by bigotry and prejudice.
"PAN should embrace diversity and give no room to the sectarianism that causes divisions in our nation," Jokowi said in a recorded video message.
Prabowo distanced himself from other major figures in the Indonesian political spectrum when his Great Movement Indonesia (Gerindra) Party formed a coalition with the National Awakening Party (PKB) two weeks ago.
The coalition is set to make Prabowo the sole presidential candidate while PKB Chairman Muhaimin Iskandar is the most likely running mate.
Registration for presidential candidates will not open until October next year.