Markus Junianto Sihaloho, Jakarta – Prabowo Subianto is set to remain as leader of the Great Indonesia Party, or Gerindra, for another five years after the "entire representatives" of the party's regional chapters asked him to do so during a national leadership meeting this week, a party executive said on Friday.
The meeting was held through video conference on Thursday evening, attended by all representatives from the party's provincial chapters, according to Gerindra deputy chairman Sufmi Dasco Ahmad.
"The entire representatives of the provincial chapters want Prabowo Subianto to stay at the helm of Gerindra for 2020 – 2025," Dasco said.
Prabowo, currently serving as defense minister in President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's cabinet, is seen as a symbol of unity and exemplary leadership inside the party, he said.
"Mr. Prabowo accepted the call which he said was a mandate from the party," Dasco said.
A national congress will be held later this year to formalize Prabowo's extended term, he said.
Gerindra secretary-general Ahmad Muzani said all 34 of the party's regional chapters also asked Prabowo to join the presidential race in 2024, but the former Army general has not responded to the request.
"We all hope Mr. Prabowo will agree to be nominated again as our candidate," Ahmad said.
Prabowo, 68, lost the last two head-to-head presidential elections against Jokowi. But Gerindra managed to boost votes during last year's legislative election, winning 12.6 percent of the total, or 17.6 million votes, to rank second after the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) who won overall with 19.3 percent.
Jokowi recruited Prabowo into his cabinet days after he was sworn in for a second term last October in an attempt to end divisions in one of the world's biggest democracies and ensure a stable government with support from major parties in the top five of the legislature membership.