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Ridwan Kamil to join Golkar for possible VP bid

Jakarta Post - January 18, 2023

Jakarta – West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil, popularly known by the nickname "Emil", has said he plans to join the Golkar Party and make an announcement about his 2024 bid for the vice presidency shortly.

"God willing, [I] will join Golkar soon," Ridwan said on Tuesday afternoon in Depok, West Java, as quoted by Kompas.

"Yes, I am [certain]," Ridwan said about joining Golkar, which controls the second-largest number of legislative seats and is part of the ruling coalition supporting President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's administration.

He added that he would make an official announcement on either Wednesday or Thursday.

Golkar politician Dave Laksono had said earlier that Ridwan had joined Kosgoro 1957, a multipurpose organization affiliated with the party, as an advisor.

"By joining Kosgoro, Emil has joined the Golkar family," said Dave, a son of former Golkar chairman Agung Laksono.

Ridwan, an architect by trade, has seen his political stock rise in recent months, cementing his standing as a solid option for a running mate in the 2024 election.

He burst onto the scene in 2013, when he trounced seven other candidates running for the Bandung mayoralty in West Java by securing a 27 percent lead in the regional elections.

His political career maintained an upward trajectory to secure the top seat in West Java in 2018, when he won the gubernatorial election, albeit by a smaller margin.

As the curtain prepares to rise on the 2024 presidential race, political parties might find it difficult to ignore Ridwan. A recent public opinion poll by Indikator Politik Indonesia has seen him rated the most popular choice for vice president, though he is currently unaffiliated with any party.

In November, Bogor Mayor Bima Arya, whose National Mandate Party (PAN) is grouped in the United Indonesia Coalition (KIB), spoke about a hypothetical pairing between Ridwan and Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo, though the idea has not completely won over PAN's fellow allies in the KIB.

The three-party KIB, comprising Golkar and the United Development Party (PPP) in addition to PAN, is the only electoral alliance that is yet to announce its preferred candidates.

The West Java governor is widely known for his lighthearted online persona and wittily engaging with netizens on social media platforms, where he regularly uploads posts to millions of followers.It is Ridwan's approachability that has helped his electability rating skyrocket in recent polls, analysts say.

However, analysts also say that despite his high electability, Ridwan's popularity is not enough to guarantee that any party or alliance would pick him to be on their 2024 ticket.

Observers have questioned whether Ridwan's work as governor is enough to convince political parties that he can lead at the national level. They also view Ridwan as lacking the political clout necessary to raise campaign funds.

Joining a political party will thus help Ridwan secure the option to seek reelection in the 2024 West Java gubernatorial election, if he was not selected as a vice presidential candidate. (dre)

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/indonesia/2023/01/18/ridwan-kamil-to-join-golkar-for-possible-vp-bid.htm