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Prabowo's nephew and niece touted as candidates for next Jakarta governor

Channel News Asia - May 10, 2024

Jakarta – Indonesia's incoming ruling party is considering nominating family members of President-elect Prabowo Subianto for the upcoming Jakarta gubernatorial election on Nov 27.

"We propose four names: first, Mbak Sara; second, Mas Budi Djiwandono; third, Mbak Rani Maulani; fourth, myself, Ahmad Riza Patria," said Gerindra Jakarta chairman Ahmad Riza Patria, as quoted by CNN Indonesia on Thursday (May 9).

Ms Rahayu "Sara" Djojohadikusumo and Mr Budi Djiwandono are the niece and nephew of Mr Prabowo, respectively.

Mr Ahmad is the former Deputy Governor of Jakarta. Mdm Rani is a member and deputy speaker of the Jakarta Regional People's Representative Council.

Both Ms Sara and Mr Budi have also been suggested as potential successors to Mr Prabowo as the chairperson of the Gerindra party by local and regional media. Nomination Day is Sep 22.

Who are Sara and Budi?

According to observers, the potential gubernatorial candidacy of both Ms Sara and Mr Budi comes as no surprise to those who have closely followed their political trajectory. Their rise is said to be meticulously planned by the family of Mr Prabowo's billionaire brother Mr Hashim Djojohadikusumo.

For over a decade, Gerindra has served as a platform for the political ambitions of Mr Hashim's family.

A report by the Indonesian Studies at the University of Melbourne indicates Mr Hashim, who is also Ms Sara's father, was said to play a pivotal role in shaping Gerindra's course, envisioning it not only as a presidential vehicle for his brother Mr Prabowo but also for his own children, nieces, and nephews.

Mr Hashim is one of the deputy chairs of the patron board of Gerindra. His daughter Ms Sara also currently holds one of the party's deputy chairs.

A political activist, actress, and TV presenter, Ms Sara's entry into politics began with her election to the national legislature during the 2014-2019 term, representing Central Java's 4th district.

She served on the parliamentary committee on religion, social affairs, women's empowerment, and child protection.

Although she lost her re-election bid in 2019, Ms Sara managed to stage a comeback in the February legislative election and is expected to be sworn in on Oct 1.

Like her parents, Ms Sara is a devout Christian and openly acknowledges the influence of religion in her life.

Mr Budi, 42, entered parliament in August 2017, representing the East Kalimantan district following the death of his predecessor, Mr Luther Kombong.

He is currently deputy chairman of the house committee on agriculture, environment, forestry, and marine affairs.

Mr Budi is widely known as the son of the well-known economist and former governor of the Indonesian central bank, Sudrajad Djiwandono, who is Mr Prabowo's brother-in-law.

Battle of political heavyweights

The race to be the next Jakarta governor has so far been dominated by numerous Indonesian political heavyweights.

The role is one of the most prominent political positions in Indonesia and historically served as a stepping stone for the country's presidency.

The current president, Joko Widodo, served as Jakarta governor for two years before assuming the presidency in 2014.

The previous governor, Anies Baswedan, ran for this year's presidential election which he lost to Mr Prabowo.

Reports from local media suggest that Mr Anies is considering running for re-election to maintain his political clout.

The National Democratic (Nasdem) Party and Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), which nominated Mr Anies for the presidency, have openly discussed the strong possibility of re-nominating him for the Jakarta governorship.

According to polls, the former education minister remains the frontrunner for a second term, buoyed by strong support from Jakarta's conservative electorate.

The upcoming race may feature a highly anticipated blockbuster rematch between Mr Anies and his predecessor, the Chinese Christian former governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama.

Mr Ahok's name is among potential candidates currently under consideration by the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP), along with figures such as finance minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, minister of social affairs Tri Rismaharini, minister of public works and housing Basuki Hadimuljono, and former armed forces commander Andika Perkasa.

Mr Anies defeated Mr Ahok in the 2017 gubernatorial election in a polarising campaign that exposed religious and ethnic divisions in Jakarta.

Recently, Mr Ahok, who was imprisoned for a controversial blasphemy case in May 2017, has sparked a political wave after launching a podcast called Ask Ahok Anything to address issues faced by Jakarta and its residents.

Mr Ridwan Kamil, tipped as one of Indonesia's rising stars, is also strongly considered by Indonesia's oldest party, Golkar, as a potential nominee to run for the Jakarta governor post.

Mr Ridwan has had successful tenures as West Java governor and Bandung mayor.

Apart from Mr Ridwan, Golkar is also considering two other candidates for the Jakarta governorship, Mr Ahmed Zaki Iskandar, currently Tangerang regent, and businessman Erwin Aksa, the nephew of former vice-president Jusuf Kalla.

Indonesia is scheduled to hold local elections on Nov 27 to elect 38 governors, 416 regents, and 98 mayors across the country.

Source: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/asia/prabowos-nephew-and-niece-touted-candidates-next-jakarta-governor-432648