Ghina Ghaliya, Jakarta – Gerindra Party chairman Prabowo Subianto will soon decide on the candidate for the party to endorse in the 2024 presidential election, a party top official has said, adding that Probowo himself is ready to run again.
A decision on the nomination would be made soon after the party's national leadership meeting on June 4, which was attended by party executives from across the country.
"Regarding the presidential candidate nomination, Prabowo will immediately decide," Gerindra Party secretary-general Ahmad Muzani said in a written statement on Tuesday, without further elaboration.
He said that Prabowo, who currently serves as defense minister, was considering running again in the 2024 presidential election if he garnered support from the party's cadres and members of the public.
"If he is healthy and if the party and people ask him to run, of course, he will consider it and make the right decision later," Muzani said.
Prabowo, Muzani said, had asked all party cadres to be patient.
A survey commissioned by pollster Indikator Politik Indonesia revealed that Prabowo's electability dropped dramatically amid the pandemic from February to May.
According to the February survey, Prabowo, the rival of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo in the presidential races of both 2014 and 2019, was a strong lead among the top potential candidates with an approval rating of 22.2 percent. However, the defense minister only garnered the backing of 14.1 percent in the May survey.
At the same time, Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo and West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil are trending upward as potential candidates for the 2024 presidential race.
The pollster's executive director, Burhanuddin Muhtadi, said regional leaders had more "electoral incentives" amid the COVID-19 pandemic over the past two months, as they had the platform to show off their policies on managing the health crisis, which subsequently affected politics at a national scale.
"Prabowo's position as defense minister doesn't give him direct control over COVID-19 handling," he said.
Experts have stated there was a possibility of Prabowo and House Speaker Puan Maharani, the daughter of PDI-P patron Megawati Soekarnoputri, running together for the 2024 election. This would be in line with Megawati's political pledge in 2009, also known as the Batu Tulis pact, in which Megawati reportedly promised to support Prabowo as a presidential candidate in the 2014 election.
The pledge, however, was broken when the PDI-P eventually nominated the Jokowi-Jusuf Kalla pair for the 2014 presidential race, while Prabowo paired with former National Mandate Party (PAN) chairman Hatta Rajasa.