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Indonesian president hopeful tied to Jokowi's son falls in polls

Bloomberg News - November 8, 2023

Faris Mokhtar – An Indonesian presidential contender is facing a growing backlash over his decision to choose President Joko Widodo's son as his running mate with the latest opinion poll showing him slipping to second place after six months of being the top voter choice.

Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto together with the current president's eldest son Gibran Rakabuming Raka scored 34.7%, trailing behind the former Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo and his running mate at 36.8%, according to a survey by polling firm Charta Politika published Monday. The opinion poll was carried out Oct. 26-31.

The slip in polls suggests Indonesian voters are becoming uncomfortable with what's widely seen as attempts by the president, popularly known as Jokowi, to push his son into a key political race and establish a political dynasty. It could also act as a wake up call for Prabowo, who is making his third attempt for the presidency in elections due Feb. 14.

Close to 60% of the respondents in Charta Politika's survey disagreed on the need for a political dynasty in Southeast Asia's largest economy. Nearly half of them didn't support Gibran's vice presidential bid as the 36-year-old mayor from a city in Java is considered to be too young and seen to lack experience.

Dynasties are a common feature in Indonesian politics since independence in 1945, with many families from political, business and military backgrounds holding government positions. Jokowi was the first Indonesian president not to have come from elite circles and he successfully ran on an anti-corruption platform, but now his two sons and a son-in-law are involved in politics.

Critics contend that Jokowi is playing a role in influencing elections given he cannot run for president after two terms under the constitution. Though Jokowi hasn't openly voiced support for any of the presidential candidates, analysts say he is trying to wield influence after he steps down and ensure his preferred successor continue his policies including the construction of a new capital city in Borneo.

Prabowo, who was once married to military dictator Suharto's daughter, is from an elite family. His grandfather was the founder of Indonesia's central bank and his father was a minister under Indonesia's first president Sukarno, and later on, Suharto.

One the back of building disgruntlement against Jokowi's political dynasty, the Constitutional Court's ethics panel on Tuesday recommended dismissing Chief Justice Anwar Usman, who is Jokowi's brother-in-law, for failing to recuse himself from a case that benefited his nephew. Anwar has denied conflict of interest allegations.

The panel was formed following a public outcry to probe the conduct of judges, including Anwar, after they lowered the minimum age for candidates vying for president and vice-president, allowing 36-year-old Gibran to join forces with Prabowo. The court's decision on the election rule is final and binding.

It's now up to Jokowi to decide on the panel's recommendation. Under the constitution, only the president has the power to dismiss a chief justice.

Source: https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/indonesian-president-hopeful-tied-to-jokowi-s-son-falls-in-polls-1.199549