President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo on Tuesday (31/07) urged his ministers to make "serious" efforts to strengthen foreign exchange reserves by widening biodiesel use to combat pressures caused by a global trade war. (Antara Photo/Rosa Panggabean)

Gatot and Sri Mulyani Strong Candidates for Jokowi's Running Mate in 2019


NOVEMBER 22, 2017

Jakarta. Despite the great popularity enjoyed by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo at home, he still needs a running mate to enhance his electability in the 2019 presidential election, analysts say.

Jokowi's approval rating remains stable, at 68 percent as of September, according to a survey by Jakarta-based pollster Indikator Politik Indonesia, which polled 1,220 respondents in 34 provinces on Sep. 17-24.

According to Indikator executive director Burhanuddin Muhtadi, there are two strong candidates for vice president, Indonesian Military (TNI) chief Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo and Finance Minister Sri Mulyani, whose scored highest in the poll that also listed Bandung Mayor Ridwan Kamil, Surabaya Mayor Tri Rismaharini and Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo.

"Gatot Nurmantyo would help Jokowi gain support among voters who choose Prabowo Subianto," Burhanuddin said at the DBS Asian Insights Conference on Tuesday (21/11) in South Jakarta.

Gatot'a military background can be helpful among Muslim groups.

"Jokowi lacks strong footing among Muslims voters," Burhanuddin said.

According to him, as Jokowi's own voters tend to gravitate toward Sri Mulyani, he needs to attract new ones, especially in Banten and West Sumatra, where his approval ratings are low.

"These voters tend to support Gatot or Prabowo," Burhanuddin said.

Meanwhile, the National Democratic Party (Nasdem), nominated Jokowi as its candidate in the 2019 presidential race.

More Uncertainty 

Burhanuddin forecasts there will be more uncertainty ahead of the elections, as voters tend to assess incumbents based not on competency, but other, identity-related factors.

Identity politics played a major role in Jakarta's recent gubernatorial election, when hardline Muslim groups mobilized masses against ethnic Chinese and Christian former governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama.

While the use of ethnic and religious sentiments is expected to reemerge, civil unrest is unlikely.

"Investors and business players do not need to worry. If there is a minor political turbulence, it will not affect the national economy," Burhanuddin added.