Indonesia senior minister Mahfud MD has been named as the running mate of Ganjar Pranowo, one of the leading contenders in the presidential election to be held in four months.
(Bloomberg) — Indonesia senior minister Mahfud MD has been named as the running mate of Ganjar Pranowo, one of the leading contenders in the presidential election to be held in four months.
Megawati Soekarnoputri, head of the ruling Democratic Party of Struggle, or PDI-P, made the announcement on Wednesday, one day before registration opens for election candidates.
“He’s an intellectual,” said Megawati, who’s also a former president. “Mahfud is also known to the people as a legal expert and defender of the poor.”
The latest announcement is set to turn up election fever before some 205 million Indonesians cast their votes for presidential, legislative, and gubernatorial candidates on Feb. 14, 2024. This is the first time that the country is holding all three elections simultaneously.
Mahfud, 66, who’s currently the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, is seen as a steady hand with more than 20 years of experience in the government.
“If law enforcement is done properly, then half the problems in this nation are solved,” said Mahfud after the nomination. “Prioritizing the eradication of corruption, legal certainty, and consistency in the implementation law enforcement provide guarantees for investment and economic development and provide protection to the people.”
There are three contenders for the presidential race, including Ganjar, who is former governor of Central Java, one of Indonesia’s biggest provinces.
He will face former Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan, who has chosen the leader of the country’s largest Islamic party as his running mate. Current Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, the other leading contender, has yet to announce his vice-presidential nominee.
Mahfud held a number of senior government roles under three presidents, including as minister of defense and law. Since Joko Widodo – known as Jokowi – took office in 2014, Mahfud has held several ministerial posts, including home affairs and communication and information technology.
As it stands, the race is neck and neck between Prabowo — who had lost the last two presidential races to Jokowi — and Ganjar, with both men topping various opinion polls.
While Ganjar, initially seen as the incumbent’s preferred successor, was considered a shoo-in for the nation’s top office, Prabowo’s momentum has been building rapidly in the last few months after winning more support from other political parties. The incumbent president’s relationship with former rival Prabowo has also blossomed in recent months, with both men attending various events together.
–With assistance from Norman Harsono and Grace Sihombing.
(Updated with details throughout.)
More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.