Cindy Layan, Jakarta – Chief Security Minister Mohammad Mahfud MD claimed on Monday that he has received an offer to become a running mate for former Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan, who is nominated for president by the National Democratic Party, or Nasdem.
He said he turned down the offer coming from the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), a member of the coalition that nominates Anies for the 2024 presidential election.
"I said to PKS Chairman [Ahmad Syaikhu] when he came to my house discussing the possibility of me becoming a running mate for Anies, 'please, not me' because the coalition could break apart if other members disagree," Mahfud said.
The combined seats of Nasdem and the PKS in the House of Representatives are still below the 20 percent threshold to nominate a president, but they received support from the Democratic Party to ensure the ticket for 2024. If one of the three parties withdraws from the coalition out of opposition to Mahfud, Anies won't be on the ballots.
Mahfud said the PKS chairman was accompanied by former vice justice minister Denny Indrayana during the visit, but he didn't say when the meeting took place.
"My message to Denny is that I will make sure the elections will run smoothly," he added.
As the coordinating minister for political, legal, and security affairs, Mahfud said his job is to make sure that any candidate has a fair chance to compete.
The government could be blamed for hampering Anies' presidential bid if he fails to get the ticket, Mahfud said.
"There have been constant allegations that the government is blocking Anies' way," the minister said.
Back in 2019, Mahfud claimed at that time that he was picked as a running mate for future winner Joko "Jokowi" Widodo but his nomination was canceled at the last minute in favor of Muslim cleric Ma'ruf Amin.
Mahfud said he had had a fitting for the clothes he would wear during the announcement to match the outfit of Jokowi who was seeking a reelection.