Thursday, June 1, 2023

Endorsing Ganjar? Jokowi Promotes ‘White-Haired Leader’ in Front of Supporters

Asni Ovier
November 26, 2022 | 1:43 pm
President Joko Widodo, left, greets Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo at Colomadu Market in Karanganyar, Central Java on November 2,1, 2022. (BTV)
President Joko Widodo, left, greets Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo at Colomadu Market in Karanganyar, Central Java on November 2,1, 2022. (BTV)

Jakarta. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo told thousands of his supporters on Saturday that the future leader who is prepared to continue his legacy could be someone who has white hair, prompting many to interpret as a disguised endorsement for silver-haired Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo.

The president has remained tight-lipped about who he will support as a potential successor but Ganjar could be a very good bet. Both men are career politicians of the ruling Indonesia Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and natives of Central Java -- and widely perceived as populist leaders.

“I need to say that a leader who puts the people above all else is physically visible from his face, from his appearance. Wrinkles form on his face because the people always come to his mind. There’s also a leader who thinks only of the people’s interests that his hair grows white,” Jokowi said in a gathering with thousands of supporters at the Bung Karno Stadium in Central Jakarta.

He repeated again the white hair remarks later in the speech.


“I’m saying it again, a populist leader is evident from his appearance, from the wrinkles on his face. Beware of someone with a clean face with no wrinkles. Take a look at his hair -- if it’s fully white then he must be the person who keeps thinking of the people,” Jokowi said.

The president also reminded his supporters to vote for a candidate who is certain to continue with his long-term development agenda.

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Jokowi, who reaches his presidential term limit in October 2024, will be having a milestone project unfinished by the time he retires. He has historically won the House of Representatives' approval to relocate the national capital from Jakarta to East Kalimantan.

It will take years, maybe decades, to complete the infrastructure of the capital city Nusantara and fully move the entire central government functions there.

His political opponents, such as Muslim-based the Social Justice Party (PKS), have openly challenged the capital relocation. The PKS is currently in the process of establishing a coalition with the National Democratic Party (Nasdem) which has formally picked former Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan as the presidential candidate for the 2024 election.

President’s remarks are interpreted as an endorsement of Ganjar, at least in social media conversations.

“Mr. @ganjarpranowo, you were mentioned again by Mr. @jokowi. For all Jokowi supporters who are still undecided, how much louder of the code that you need to hear?” Twitter user @ChusnulCh wrote.

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