Indonesia’s Prabowo picks Joko Widodo’s son Gibran as election running mate

Indonesia’s defence minister and presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto said on Sunday he has chosen the eldest son of President Joko Widodo to be his running mate in next year’s election.

The choice of 36-year-old Gibran Rakabuming Raka, currently the mayor of Surakarta city, as a vice presidential candidate for the February vote has fuelled criticism that Widodo is trying to create a political dynasty in the world’s third-largest democracy.

“By consensus, everyone agrees to support Prabowo Subianto as the presidential candidate and Gibran Rakabuming Raka as the vice presidential candidate,” said Prabowo in a statement outside his residence in the capital Jakarta.

Representatives of his party coalition known as Advanced Indonesia stood behind him as he made the announcement.


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It came after a controversial court decision this week that ruled anyone who has been elected to public office can run for the presidency and vice presidency. That ruling was issued by Widodo’s brother-in-law, chief justice Anwar Usman.

The choice of Gibran could be a boost for Prabowo’s campaign due to Widodo’s huge popularity.

Asked about the possibility of his son’s nomination earlier Sunday, the president said he will be “leaving it to the political parties’ coalition”, adding that a parents’ job is to pray for their children and give their blessings.

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Gibran represents his father’s ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) but Widodo has denied any bid to dominate the country’s politics, insisting the choice of the country’s next leader and vice-president belongs to the people.

The PDI-P has instead nominated Ganjar Pranowo, the former governor of Central Java, who has chosen chief security minister Mahfud MD as his running mate.

It will be the third time Prabowo has run for president after he lost to Widodo in the previous two elections.

The third challenger for the presidency will be former Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan, favoured by conservative Muslims and Islamist factions in the Muslim-majority country.

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More than 204 million eligible voters are expected to cast their ballot on February 14.

The winner will take over from Widodo after two terms in office, since his first election in 2014.

Candidate registration is open until October 25, and the next president will be sworn in next October, the elections commission said.

The PDI-P did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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