Jakarta. Prabowo Subianto has been assured a place in the 2024 presidential election after his Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) party established a coalition with the National Awakening Party (PKB) to meet the 20 percent threshold for an eligible candidate on Saturday.
The law requires a party or a coalition of parties to have at least 20 percent of seats in the House of Representatives to nominate a presidential candidate.
Gerindra has 13.57 percent of 575 House seats while PKB has 10 percent.
On Friday, Prabowo delivered his acceptance speech after leaders of Gerindra’s provincial chapters agreed to nominate him despite his back-to-back losses in the 2014 and 2019 elections.
“After carefully learning and listening to the stance of all chapters and the party’s arms, who hope that I accept the nomination as a presidential candidate for 2024, I answer with full responsibility that I accept your request," Prabowo said during the party’s national congress in Sentul, Bogor, West Java.
The following day, a PKB executive confirmed that the party has no problem with Prabowo’s nomination and that its chairman Muhaimin Iskandar is currently the sole choice for a running mate.
“To make it clear, the candidates from PKB and Gerindra won’t be anyone other than Muhaimin and Prabowo,” PKB Deputy Chairman Jazilul Fawaid said.
But Jazilul quickly added that the official announcement of the nominees will follow schedules from the General Election Commission (KPU) which is one and a half years from now.
“Today we officially declare this coalition. PKB and Gerindra share vision and mission, and we also have candidates already,” he said.
Prabowo was defeated by Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on both occasions but in a reconciliatory move in October 2019, the president appointed him as the defense minister, to which the former opponent accepted without hesitation.
Prabowo said he has secured approval from his boss to run for the president again.
During the second day of the congress on Saturday, Prabowo even sang praises to Jokowi, saying that the president has the wisdom and statesmanship to lead the country as shown by his sincere attempts to reconcile with his political opponents.
“It’s been three years since I became a subordinate of Mr. Joko Widodo and I don’t feel ashamed of my loyalty to him,” he told Gerindra executives.
“I was his rival for 10 years but he is a man of unselfishness and initiated reconciliation. He asked me to join his government. Tell me if there’s any other country where you can see things like this: the losing side is given a hug,” Prabowo said.
When asked by reporters at the presidential palace on Friday, Jokowi said he has no authority to prevent cabinet members from running for the election in this democratic nation.
“How can I say no to him?” the president replied.
“If that is interpreted as my blessing, then I have no objection.”