Could Jokowi’s family become Indonesia’s new political dynasty? – The diplomat

Indonesia is no stranger to political dynasties. Since independence in 1945, Indonesia has seen the children of former presidents apply for public office on several occasions. Unsurprisingly, outgoing Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is now trying to follow suit, with his son, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, and his son-in-law, Bobby Nasution, both candidates for the municipal elections in December. While this development has left Jokowi besieged by accusations of nepotism, the second-term president remains steadfast in his support for Raka and Nasution’s candidacies, with Raka’s attempt marking the first time a child of an incumbent president has come forward. to a public office.

Since declaring his intention to run in the upcoming municipal elections in Surakarta, central Java, Raka’s candidacy has sparked controversy. The first of these controversies emerged when Raka demanded the nomination of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP). After registering as a PDIP member in September 2019, Raka attempted to apply for the PDIP branch in Surakarta. Yet, to Raka’s surprise, his candidacy was immediately rejected. According to the Surakarta branch, Raka’s candidacy was rejected because she had already selected the outgoing deputy mayor of the city, Achmad Purnomo, to run for the next election. Raka, unwilling to accept this decision, instead decided to bypass the local branch and submit his candidacy directly to the provincial branch of the party. Afterwards, hostilities between the Raka camp and the Surakarta branch continued for months, until in mid-July, the PDIP central council announcement Jokowi’s son as the party’s preferred candidate, leaving Purnomo on the sidelines.

Likewise, Nasution, who is married to Jokowi’s daughter Kahiyang Ayu, is also expected to secure the PDIP’s nomination for the mayoral race in Medan in North Sumatra. Like Raka, Nasution lacks political experience and only joined the PDIP as a member in March. Regardless of that, Nasution has already received the support of a large group of political parties, including Nasdem, Golkar, the National Mandate Party and Gerindra. While Nasution has yet to secure the PDIP nomination, this broad show of support almost guarantees his selection.

Critics openly questioned the PDIP’s expedited nomination process for the two and called attention to the alleged interventions made by Jokowi on their behalf. Specifically, critics argue that Raka and Nasution used their close relationship with the president to exempt themselves from formal PDIP obligations. appointment process, which stipulates that candidates must be members of the party for three consecutive years. Apart from the issues surrounding their appointment, critics also pointed to the age and inexperience of Raka (32) and Nasution (29) as another sign that their candidacy is intrinsically linked to personal popularity and national profile. by Jokowi.

Another disturbing development concerns the lack of political opposition against members of the Widodo clan in these electoral contests. Already, political parties belonging to Jokowi’s coalition have widely declared their support for Raka and Nasution. In Raka’s case, he is likely to run for the seat without challenge, as the only opposition parties, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) and the Democratic Party, have failed to satisfy the threshold necessary to nominate candidates. Therefore, if an independent candidate fails to emerge with a petition containing 35,870 signatures supporting his candidacy, Raka’s only opponent on the ballot in December will be an empty white box.

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In the case of Nasution, if he does eventually get the PDIP nomination, it is almost certain that he too will also have the support of political parties aligned with his father-in-law. However, Nasution’s electoral success is not as solid as that of his happy brother-in-law. This is due to the fact that in Medan, the PKS and the Democratic Party have reached the threshold required to nominate candidates for this municipal election. To make matters even more difficult for Nasution, the PKS and the Democratic Party are pursuing a joint ticket with the outgoing mayor of Medan, Akhyar Nasution, as mayoral candidate. This follows reports that the mayor took of his membership in the PDIP party and joined the Democratic Party after his own candidacy was rejected by the PDIP central council in favor of Nasution.

While the Widodo family’s political ambitions have been broadcast repeatedly by Indonesian media over the past year, attention has also been drawn to the political ambitions of children linked to other prominent political figures. . The most notable of these is Siti Nur Azizah, daughter of Indonesian Vice President Ma’ruf Amin. Azizah, like Raka and Nasution, tries to launch his political career by running for municipal elections – in his case, South Tangerang, Banten. Surprisingly, Azizah will face yet another aspiring political figure, Rahayu Saraswati Djojohadikusumo, who is the niece of the Indonesian Defense Minister and familiar presidential candidate, Prabowo Subianto.

While it is very likely that each of the above-mentioned candidates will receive votes due to their high-profile last names, there is a risk that relying solely on name recognition could backfire. This refers to a growing trend among Indonesian voters to prioritize a proven track record over name recognition. A perfect example of this is how Jokowi used his strong background in public service to defeat Subianto in the 2014 and 2019 presidential elections. As such, the next election contests involving the children of senior officials could turn out to be an informative litmus test of the maturity of the Indonesian electorate.

Marcus Tantau is a new senior analyst for a risk consulting firm S-RM.