Lenny Tristia Tambun, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo advised the Golkar Party on Friday to employ caution in selecting their candidate for the 2024 presidential election as he delivered the opening speech at an event to celebrate the party's 58th anniversary.
As he entered the hall at the Jakarta International Expo, the two-term president was welcomed by the noise of many Golkar executives shouting support for party chairman Airlangga Hartarto, who has publicly announced his bid for 2024.
"Golkar has reached great maturity and gained a lot of experience as the party turns 58 today – with a profound knowledge of Indonesian politics. Therefore, I'm certain that Golkar will be very careful, diligent, and conscientious in declaring the presidential candidate and the running mate for 2024," the president said.
Jokowi, a career politician from the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), praised Airlangga for his work as the chief economic minister in the cabinet and hinted that his aide has the potential to become his successor.
He said the geopolitical situation could trap the global economy into recession for years to come and Indonesia will need "a leader with many flight hours".
"The one like Mr. Airlangga Hartarto," Jokowi said to applause from the audience.
Recent surveys on potential presidential candidates by various pollsters saw PDI-P politician and Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo as the frontrunner ahead of former Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan and Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto.
In most polls, Airlangga failed to get five percent of the respondents' votes.
Golkar has formed the United Indonesia Coalition together with the National Mandate Party (PAN) and the United Development Party (PPP) to get enough seats in the House of Representatives to nominate a presidential candidate.
The law requires at least 20 percent of House seats for a party or a coalition of parties to nominate their candidate.
"The Golkar Party, the PAN, and the PPP have secured a ticket for the 2024 presidential election, Mr. President," Airlangga told Jokowi.
Airlangga said the coalition is inclusive in nature and he welcomes other political parties to join.