Prabowo will likely run for president in 2024 just for the party: commentary
JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post / Asia News Network): In a recent conversation, the ambassador of a Latin American country wondered why many Indonesians are still excited to run Prabowo Subianto for presidency in 2024, even though he had lost in the last two elections.
Prabowo has actually crashed three times, also taking into account his defeat in 2009 as running mate to then-president Megawati Soekarnoputri.
“People in Latin America have little empathy for a loser. We are very different from the Indonesian people, who are very supportive of a failure, ”the ambassador said. He is not the only one from this point of view.
Many Indonesians also doubt that Prabowo has a chance of winning the 2024 presidential race after his back-to-back defeats. While the defense minister has not officially announced his intention, a retired Indonesian army general told me on October 25: “As long as he breathes, he will never give up.” So Prabowo will start over.
In my response to the envoy, I told him that Prabowo had received strong grassroots support in his three previous attempts. In the 2009 parliamentary elections, just one year after its founding, his Greater Indonesia Party (Gerindra) won 26 of the 560 House of Representatives seats with 4.46% of the vote, an impressive feat for a newbie party.
Gerindra won 73 of the House’s 575 seats (11.81 percent of the vote) in 2014, and five years later that number has risen to 78 seats (12.59 percent of the vote). Gerindra has finished third in the last two elections, only behind the Indonesian Democratic Wrestling Party (PDI-P) and the Golkar Party.
In 2014, Prabowo was the choice of 62,576,444 voters (46.85%) against the 70,997,833 voters (53.15%) who elected Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.
In their 2019 rematch, Prabowo won 68,659,239 votes (44.50%) against 85,607,362 votes for Jokowi (55.50%).
“Prabowo will run again in 2024. He is very realistic about his chances of winning. But what is much more important for him is to make sure that Gerindra will be his eternal legacy, ”I told the ambassador, as if I were Prabowo’s official spokesperson.
Born on October 17, 1951, Prabowo has managed to regain most of the honor and dignity he lost in 1998. It is only natural that he wishes to become the eighth president of the country.
But even if he is beaten again, he will remain the great founding leader of Gerindra, who will likely continue to perform well in the next election.
While he might never win his ex-wife back, he is now a happily divorced. Who knows that a charming lady could in the future captivate the 70-year-old politician and retired general? Either way, he remains a proud and happy father.
For Prabowo, his swearing-in as Minister of Defense on October 23, 2019 at the State Palace was perhaps one of the happiest moments of his life, as he was accompanied by his only son Didit Hediprasetyo. , a fashion designer who has spent most of his time abroad.
President Jokowi helped restore Prabowo’s dignity as he was able to regain the military life he had missed since his dismissal in 1998.
His arrival at the Pentagon on October 15, 2020, to meet with then Secretary of Defense Mark Esper was a moment of truth, as he had successfully returned to the United States after being blacklisted since 2000 for alleged human rights violations. In the United States, he was received with full military honors.
Prabowo was married to Siti “Titiek” Hediati Hariyadi, one of Suharto’s daughters, who had ruled the country for 32 years until May 20, 1998. Despite their divorce, Titiek campaigned for Prabowo in 2014 and 2019 as well as to prove that their good relationship was still intact.
The year 1998 was arguably the darkest and most devastating time in the life of Prabowo, who had enjoyed privileges as the son of well-respected economics professor Sumitro Djojohadikusumo, son-in-law of Suharto, and as superelite army special forces officer (Kopassus).
When Suharto fell out of favor, he also brought down Prabowo with him. BJ Habibie, who replaced Suharto as president on May 20, 1998, fired Prabowo as head of the Army Strategic Reserves Command (Kostrad) for various humiliating reasons after holding the post for two months.
In August 1998, Prabowo was honorably released from the military at the age of 47, eight years before retirement age, for violations ranging from breaches of military discipline to violations of human rights.
He moved to Jordan for a few years, then returned to Jakarta to start his own business with his younger brother Hashim Djojohadikusumo.
One of Praowo’s business partners was Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, his superior at the Military Academy and the current coordinating minister for maritime affairs and investments, who was a staunch supporter of Jokowi in the 2014 and 2019 elections.
Ahead of the 2024 elections, many Gerindra executives at all levels have expressed their demand for their president to run again, not only because they can’t wait to see Prabowo take over as president, but also because they know that it remains a powerful magnet for the legislative elections.
Prabowo’s tail effect on Gerindra was proven in 2014 and 2019 and could be repeated in 2024. Presidential and legislative elections will be held simultaneously in 2024, as in 2019.
Without Prabowo in the running, Gerindra will struggle to stay in the top three, or maybe she will have to dive. Prabowo has historically dominated opinion polls as the top pick for the 2024 presidential election and way ahead of his current competitors, Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo and Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan.
I believe Prabowo will not be able to resist proving that the 2024 race will be his “third lucky time”. But whatever the outcome, he will remain a happy father, a proud leader of Gerindra and more than that, a true retired army general.
*** The writer is editor-in-chief at the Jakarta Post