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UNAIR Political expert calls Gibran’s candidacy a long-term strategy

UNAIR NEWS – The issue of elections has become a hot topic in the world of Indonesian politics. Recently, a senior political figure and Indonesian Defense Minister, Prabowo Subianto, named Gibran Rakabuming Raka, Mayor of Solo, as his vice presidential candidate for the upcoming presidential election. This decision surprised many parties and drew various responses from academic and political circles.

Prof Kacung Marijan PhD, one of the professors at FISIP Universitas Airlangga (UNAIR) and a political expert gave his response. Prof Kacung is a political expert who often provides analysis and comments regarding political developments in Indonesia. In an exclusive interview with UNAIR NEWS, he explained his views on Prabowo’s step.

Long-term political strategy

Prof. Kacung explained that Gibran’s nomination as vice presidential candidate shows Prabowo’s serious strategy for winning the presidential election next year. Gibran is the son of the President of the Republic of Indonesia for two terms, 2014-2019 and 2019-2024, Joko Widodo.

Naming Gibran his partner in the election is expected to gain votes from Jokowi’s supporters or reduce his opponent’s advantage.

Furthermore, Gibran is a young politician with achievements and vision. It was proven by winning the Solo mayoral election and gaining public appreciation. Thus, by making Gibran his vice presidential candidate, Prabowo can attract the attention of the younger generation, who make up 50 percent of Indonesian citizens as potential voters in the upcoming presidential election.

Prof Kacung Marijan PhD, one of the Professors of Politics at Universitas Airlangga (UNAIR). (Photo: By courtesy)

Vote splits in Central Java

Prof Kacung added that nominating Gibran as vice presidential candidate could benefit Prabowo in Central Java, one of the largest voter bases in Indonesia. Published by the Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI), Ganjar was ahead with 32 percent of the vote in Central Java, while Prabowo only got 16 percent of the vote.

Nominating Gibran as vice presidential candidate is expected to take Prabowo one step closer to victory. Moreover, Gibran has popularity and influence in Central Java and can potentially split the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) votes in Central Java.

“Voters in Central Java, who previously supported PDIP in the majority, may be divided in the 2024 election. Some of them will join Mas Gibran, which means it can potentially increase Pak Prabowo’s votes in Central Java,” said Prof Kacung.

The challenge of political dynasty issue

However, Prof Kacung also said that this decision had risks and challenges. According to him, two main factors can be considered by voters who are critical of Gibran’s presence, experience and political dynasty.

The experience factor is related to Gibran’s background and track record as a politician. Gibran is a young politician who has just started his career in politics. He has only served as mayor of Solo since 2020, after winning the election by a landslide. Previously, he had no experience in politics, but instead worked in the business and culinary fields.

The political dynasty factor is related to Gibran’s relationship with President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), his father. Jokowi is a popular incumbent president and has a large voter base.

Gibran is considered part of the Jokowi political dynasty, including his younger brother, Kaesang Pangarep, and his son-in-law, Bobby Nasution, who is also mayor of Medan. Some people often criticize political dynasties as a form of nepotism and oligarchy.

Prof Kacung explained that these two factors could be a challenge for Gibran to convince voters. “This is a challenge for Mas Gibran to convince voters. If you can, you will get support. If not, it will be difficult to get support,” said Prof Kacung.

Establishing coalitions with political opponents

The 2024 presidential election will be participated by three pairs of presidential and vice presidential candidates: Prabowo-Gibran, Ganjar-Mahfud, and Anies-Muhaimin. The three pairs have a balanced voter base, so no pair dominates.

“Three pairs will follow the 2024 election and will be very tight. It’s difficult for a pair to win one round,” said Prof Kacung.

Therefore, Prof Kacung predicts that the 2024 presidential election will take place in two rounds, namely the first round in April 2024 and the second round in September 2024. In the first round, voters will choose one of three presidential-vice presidential candidates. In the second round, voters will choose one of the two presidential and vice presidential candidate pairs who received the most votes in the first round.

Thus, the challenge for the Prabowo-Gibran pair is gaining support from supporters of the vice presidential candidate who failed to qualify for the second round. Prof Kacung explained that this would determine the victory or defeat of the Prabowo-Gibran pair. He emphasized that the Prabowo-Gibran pair must be able to form a coalition with other pairs who failed to qualify for the second round if they want to win.

“The challenge for the pair Pak Prabowo and Mas Gibran, among others, is how to get support from supporters of the vice presidential candidate who failed to qualify in the second round. If they can, they have a better opportunity to win,” concluded Prof. Kacung.

Author: Aidatul Fitriyah

Editor: Khefti Al Mawalia