Jakarta – Indonesian President Joko Widodo's two sons are set to follow in his political footsteps in the 2024 elections, reported The Jakarta Post.
His eldest son, Mr Gibran Rakabuming Raka, who is the mayor of Surakarta in Central Java, said he is ready to run in the gubernatorial race in 2024.
The 35-year-old said his younger brother, Mr Kaesang Pangarep, 28, is also planning to contest the regional head elections. "There, I've leaked it," Mr Gibran told reporters in the Central Java city on Wednesday, reported Detik.com.
He also urged reporters to ask his brother whether he would run for Surakarta mayor. "Ask him yourself. The most important thing is, I have given him my blessing," Mr Gibran said in Javanese.
Mr Widodo started his political career by winning the mayoral seat of Surakarta, his home town, in 2005. He then went on to win the Jakarta governorship in 2012, and the presidential race in 2014. Mr Gibran won the Surakarta mayoral seat in 2021.
Mr Gibran said his brother Kaesang, who runs several food and beverage (F&B) businesses, had revealed his political ambitions during a family dinner at Mr Widodo's private residence in Surakarta on Monday.
"Kaesang seems to be exploring (his options)... He asked me, asked our father," Mr Gibran told reporters on Tuesday at Surakarta City Hall, Tempo.co reported.
A graduate of Anglo-Chinese School (International) and the Singapore University of Social Sciences, Mr Kaesang launched F&B ventures such as Sang Pisang and Ternakopi even before he graduated from university.
Both brothers also founded Mangkok Ku restaurant in collaboration with celebrity chef and culinary entrepreneur Arnold Poernomo, reported The Jakarta Post.
Mr Kaesang is a YouTuber and a majority shareholder of the Persis Solo soccer club, which is in the country's top league, Liga 1. He married former beauty queen Erina Sofia Gudono last December.
Mr Gibran is married to former beauty queen Selvi Ananda, with whom he has two children.
Mr Gibran said Mr Kaesang's interest in politics grew after the latter observed his father at work, inspecting urban developments in Surakarta.
He said he had never tried to influence his younger brother, adding in jest that he did not "want more competitors". But Mr Gibran also felt that his brother possessed an ability to learn quickly and lead effectively.
"From my own assessment, Kaesang has worked hard for the team and the (national soccer association's) extraordinary congress. He is intensely involved," Mr Gibran said.
As for his own political career, Mr Gibran has said he is ready to contest the gubernatorial race in 2024 should he be nominated by Ms Megawati Soekarnoputri, the chairman of the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, reported Kompas.com.
There are talks that Mr Gibran will likely run for governorship in Jakarta or Central Java, reported The Jakarta Post.
An October 2022 survey by pollster Charta Politika found that Mr Gibran was the preferred Central Java candidate for 37.7 per cent of respondents.
The top seats in Jakarta and Central Java are typically a springboard to the presidency in Indonesia.
"We have to wait for the party's decision. We have to see the public's demand. If we have the ambition but not the people's favour, then it is (futile)," Mr Gibran said.
– The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network