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Calm before the storm: Presidential candidates unite in friendly gala to draw ballot numbers

Jakarta Globe - November 14, 2023

Yustinus Paat & Heru Andriyanto, Jakarta – All three presidential candidates shared messages of unity and peace on Tuesday evening as they gathered in a ceremony packed with their supporters to draw ballot numbers at the General Election Commission (KPU) building in Jakarta.

Former Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan drew number 1, Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto – making his third bid for the presidency – obtained number 2, and former Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo secured number 3.

"My friends, regardless of the election outcome, let us remain united in safeguarding our nation. I'm immensely grateful for the friendly and loving atmosphere we've experienced today," Prabowo said in his post-drawing speech.

Expressing contentment with number 3, Ganjar paralleled it with the third principle of Indonesia's national ideology Pancasila, which stipulates "the unity of Indonesia." "We embrace this political process with unity," Ganjar remarked.

Anies deferred to his running mate, Muhaimin Iskandar, to address on their behalf. "Though competitors, we are one family – brothers in this endeavor," Muhaimin said.

Seeds of conflicts

Despite the surface appearance of cordiality, each candidate pairing has sown seeds of potential conflicts that may erupt soon.

Prabowo's controversial selection of Gibran Rakabuming Raka, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's eldest son, as his running mate has sparked controversy.

Initially ineligible due to the minimum age requirement of 40 under the general election law, Gibran, aged 36, found eligibility after the Constitutional Court's October 16 amendment.

The court made exceptions for elected public officials, paving the way for Gibran, the elected mayor of Solo. The court hearing, overseen by then-Chief Justice Anwar Usman, President Widodo's brother-in-law, or Gibran's uncle, facilitated this exception.

Rival candidate Ganjar used Tuesday's occasion to label the ruling as an "intriguing drama" that dampened the celebratory atmosphere.

"We should be rejoicing today, but instead, we've been presented with a very intriguing drama that should never have occurred," Ganjar expressed as Prabowo's supporters jeered him.

Long before the candidate pairings were finalized, Muhaimin and his National Awakening Party (PKB) formed a coalition with Prabowo's Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra).

However, Muhaimin, disappointed by Prabowo's reluctance to choose him as a running mate, departed from the coalition and joined forces with the Anies camp.

Muhaimin's move rattled the coalition backing Anies' presidential bid. The Democratic Party withdrew from the coalition, accusing Anies of breaking his commitment to select party chairman Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono as his running mate.

Consequently, the Democratic Party switched allegiance to Prabowo.

The ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) experienced a significant setback when it became evident that President Jokowi was not fully backing its presidential nominee, Ganjar.

Throughout his political career, Jokowi secured all public offices with PDI-P's support, from the mayorship of Solo and the governorship of Jakarta to his two presidential terms.

His son, Gibran, also clinched the mayoral election in Solo under PDI-P's banner.

The reasons behind Gibran's decision to become a running mate for a rival candidate, thereby renouncing his PDI-P membership, remain unclear.

During the ballot number drawing, Gibran approached PDI-P Chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri to demonstrate respect by kissing her hand.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/calm-before-the-storm-presidential-candidates-unite-in-friendly-gala-to-draw-ballot-number