Yustinus Paat, Jakarta – The chairman of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's biggest group of supporters claimed on Thursday that the president is still making attempts to pair up Ganjar Pranowo with Prabowo Subianto for the 2024 presidential election.
Ganjar has been formally nominated by the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) as the presidential candidate.
On the other hand, Prabowo won support from his Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) to run again for the third time but he has yet to formally announce his bid pending the process to build a coalition.
According to Budi Arie Setia, the chairman of the Pro-Jokowi Volunteers, or Projo, the president considers that Ganjar and Prabowo would make a winning pairing for the election, no matter who is the presidential candidate and who will become the running mate.
"The last time I asked the president about that he replied he's 'still trying to pair them up'," Budi told reporters at Projo office in South Jakarta.
But Budi admitted that it's a daunting task to get Ganjar to team up with Prabowo because the PDI-P has made a decision to nominate the Central Java governor for president, while Prabowo also has the ambition for the country's top job himself.
The PDI-P with 22 percent of seats in the House of Representatives is the only party to exceed the threshold to nominate a candidate on its own, so it's very unlikely to expect it to change course by giving the nomination to someone else.
Political analyst Dedi Kurnia Syah said earlier Jokowi is the only person who could persuade Prabowo to set aside his presidential bid and instead join the race as a running mate for Ganjar.
Prabowo has great respect for Jokowi who asked him to join the cabinet as the defense minister after the former was defeated in the 2019 presidential election.
"Apart from Jokowi, not a single person can change Prabowo's mind," said Dedi, the executive director of research firm Indonesia Political Opinion.
But Prabowo is also still in a statistical dead heat with frontrunner Ganjar in recent polls so he might see 2024 as his biggest chance to finally win the presidential office, he said.
Furthermore, Prabowo as a presidential candidate will more effectively attract votes for Gerindra than he is as the running mate, according to Dedi.