Yerica Lai, Jakarta – Defense Minister and Gerindra Party chairman Prabowo Subianto has formally announced his intention to run for president in 2024 as the sole candidate of the country's second-largest political party.
Prabowo agreed to make his third bid for Indonesia's highest office on Friday, after party executives and members unanimously nominated him as Gerindra's presidential candidate during its national leadership meeting at the Sentul Convention Center in Bogor, West Java.
"I hereby declare with a sense of duty that I accept your request [...] to be nominated as a candidate for the president of the Republic of Indonesia," Prabowo told a cheering crowd.
He went on to say that he had listened to the aspirations of the party. "Thus, I declare tonight that I am ready to continue the fight for my beloved nation and people. I dedicate all my soul and spirit to our motherland," he said in a fiery speech.
The former general also addressed why he had decided to run again after losing the election three times, twice as a presidential candidate in 2014 and 2019, and once as a running mate in 2009.
"For a warrior, falling is normal. If you fall, you stand up again. We [rise again] with joy and optimism," Prabowo said.
"As long as I am still given breath by almighty God, given strength, I will continue to fight for my people, for my nation, to achieve what was pioneered by the founders of our nation."
Prabowo also took the time to thank his party for sticking beside him throughout his two losses to erstwhile rival President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, as well as after he decided to join Jokowi's Onward Indonesia Cabinet.
"I believe my decision to join [the Cabinet] was the right call," he said. "We have gone through [many] struggles, but at that time I believed in my heart, my instincts, [that] I didn't want this nation to be divided."
The last two elections between Jokowi and Prabowo, have been described as the most polarizing elections in the country's history.
After Prabowo's announcement, Gerindra declared him as its sole candidate for 2024.
Voters will head to the polls on Feb. 14, 2024 to choose their next president and vice president, as well as members of the legislature.
Prabowo, Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo and Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan have been among the leading potential contenders in recent opinion polls.