Indonesia’s defence minister and presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto on Sunday announced incumbent leader Joko Widodo’s eldest son as his running mate for next year’s election.
The choice of Gibran Rakabuming Raka, 36, could be a boost for Prabowo’s campaign due to Jokowi’s huge popularity, even amid outrage this week over a court decision to change an eligibility requirement that would have prevented Gibran from running.
Speaking after a meeting of his party and its coalition partners, Prabowo told a press conference there had been an agreement to nominate him as presidential candidate and Gibran Rakabuming Raka as vice presidential candidate.
The world’s third-largest democracy will hold simultaneous presidential and legislative elections on Feb. 14, with nearly 205 million of Indonesia’s more than 270 million population eligible to vote.
Prabowo, 72, has led most opinion polls this year, including two this week, albeit by a narrow margin over the ruling party’s Ganjar Pranowo, a former Central Java governor, with ex-Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan a distant third.
Ganjar and Anies, both 54, had signed up for the race on Thursday, the opening day of registration for presidential candidates.
Jokowi said this week he had no involvement in presidential candidates, but political insiders have said the outgoing leader is seeking to retain influence and has been covertly marshalling support for former rival Prabowo, having earlier appeared to have backed Ganjar as the candidate of his PDI-P party.