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Former Indonesian governors join presidential race as elections kick off; new candidates emerge.

Two Ex-Governors Launch Presidential Bid in Indonesia

More Jobs and Better Public Services Promised

Two popular former governors have officially entered the race to succeed Indonesian President Joko Widodo. They registered as candidates for the February election and pledged to create more jobs and improve public services in the world’s third-largest democracy.

Key Election Details

On February 14, nearly 205 million out of Indonesia’s 270 million citizens will cast their votes to decide who will lead the resource-rich country. With a thriving economy of over $1 trillion, Indonesia aims to boost foreign investment, develop downstream industries, and transition away from fossil fuels.

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The Dominant Candidates

The presidential race is expected to be dominated by three men: Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto, popular former governors Ganjar Pranowo and Anies Baswedan. Thousands of enthusiastic supporters gathered in central Jakarta to witness Anies and his running mate register as candidates. They arrived in an open-roofed jeep, greeted by cheering crowds waving party flags.

Campaign Promises

Anies, a former Jakarta governor, emphasized the need for change and improvements that would directly benefit Indonesian families. He pledged to reduce the cost of staple foods, enhance the welfare of farmers and fishermen, and improve access to education and healthcare. Anies is running alongside Muhaimin Iskandar, also known as Cak Imin, the leader of the country’s largest Islamic party, PKB.

Ganjar, the ruling party candidate, and his running mate, respected security minister Mahfud MD, submitted their credentials to the election commission. Ganjar’s election manifesto outlined his commitment to expedite the construction of the new capital city, generate 17 million new jobs, and prioritize reforestation. He also aims to expand the social welfare program and strengthen the country’s anti-corruption agency.

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The Tight Race

Opinion polls indicate a close contest between Ganjar and Prabowo, who is making his third bid for the presidency. Prabowo previously lost to Jokowi in the 2014 and 2019 elections. As candidates finalize their running mates this week, alliances are being formed, and new voter territory is being explored.

Controversy Surrounding Prabowo’s Running Mate

Prabowo is yet to announce his running mate, but speculation has been rife that Jokowi’s son, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, might join him. This possibility has sparked controversy after a ruling by the Constitutional Court exempted candidates who have won a regional election from the minimum age requirement of 40. Despite the speculation, Jokowi has denied any involvement in the candidate selection process.

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