JAKARTA: Indonesian presidential candidate Ganjar Pranowo has many things to consider as he picks his running mate for next year’s election, said analysts interviewed by CNA.
This is because the Central Java governor needs to find someone who can boost his chances of winning the race, while taking into account the interests of the political parties that back his nomination.
Mr Pranowo, 54, a long-time member of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), has been leading the polls so far, winning the approval of between 20 to 26 per cent of those surveyed.
However, his main rivals – Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto and former Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan – are slowly catching up with between 18 and 22 per cent of the votes and 16 to 18 per cent respectively.
“No presidential candidate seems set to win the election by a comfortable margin. So it all comes down to who they pick as running mates,” Djayadi Hanan, executive director of the think tank Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI) told CNA.
Since Mr Pranowo was announced on Apr 21 as PDI-P’s nominee for next year’s presidential race, several names have been suggested as his potential running mate. The list includes some of Indonesia’s most prominent politicians and bureaucrats.
Among them are: Coordinating Minister for Politics, Legal and Security Mohammad Mahfud Mahmodin; West Java governor Ridwan Kamil; Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno and State Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir.
Mr Pranowo told reporters on Apr 23: “I am ready to partner with anyone, but of course, there will be calculations.”
Analysts said among the calculations would be how well the potential running mate is received by the PDI-P as well as two other parties which have already declared their support for Mr Pranowo’s bid: the United Development Party (PPP) and the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI). Currently, PDI-P has the most seats in parliament.
“Another thing to consider is how good Ganjar’s chemistry is with his running mate. This is important because without it, there will be friction down the road should Ganjar win the presidency,” Mr Hanan of LSI said.
Mr Pranowo will also need to consider if his potential running mate can help to widen his voter base. Currently, Mr Hanan noted, Mr Pranowo appears to be very popular with voters in the provinces of Central and East Java but may struggle to find supporters in the other provinces.