Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo teased on Wednesday that he could back Star and Crescent Party (PBB) chairman Yusril Ihza Mahendra if the former law minister and senior politician decided to run in the 2024 election.
"Based on what he told us in his speech and also from his long experience, I can support his candidacy for president or vice president in 2024," Jokowi told a gathering of PBB politicians in Central Jakarta.
The President added a caveat that for Yusril to gain his endorsement, his party would first have to win 20 percent of the vote in the 2024 general election as legally required for a political party or group of parties to nominate a candidate for the presidential election.
"That is the primary task. Once he gets the ticket, I will support [him]," said Jokowi, as quoted by Antara News.
This is not the first time President Jokowi has promised to back a potential presidential candidate.
Jokowi sent his strongest signal yet that he might throw his weight behind Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo last November, when he told thousands of his supporters at a stadium rally to vote in 2024 for a "white-haired" leader in a clear reference to his fellow Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician.
Also in November, the President made an off-the-cuff remark that appeared to endorse Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto as the country's next head of state.
"I won the election twice. My apologies, Pak [Mr.] Prabowo. But it seems that after this, it will be Pak Prabowo's turn," Jokowi had said at the time.
Earlier this week, PDI-P chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri resisted external pressure to reveal the party's presidential candidate during the PDI-P's 50th anniversary event. Instead, she only hinted that the party could pick a female politician while stressing that the decision was "my prerogative".