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Jokowi’s Dynasty-Building Overshadows Indonesia’s Presidential Election

Jokowi’s Dynasty-Building Overshadows Indonesia’s Presidential Election
Presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto and his running mate Gibran Rakabuming Raka deliver their speech after drawing the electoral number that will represent them in February’s presidential election, in Jakarta, Indonesia, Nov. 14, 2023 (AP photo by Tatan Syuflana).

Campaigning officially began Tuesday for Indonesia’s Feb. 14 presidential election, weeks after all three candidates formally registered their tickets at the General Elections Commission, or KPU. The two frontrunners, current Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto and Central Java Gov. Ganjar Pranowo, are likely to face off in a subsequent runoff round. But former Jakarta Gov. Anies Baswedan is running a close third and will at the very least play a kingmaker role come February.

Even before the official campaign season got underway, however, the race had already seen no small amount of intrigue and controversy. The first was a controversial ruling by the country’s Constitutional Court last month that made an exception to the minimum age requirement for presidential and vice presidential candidates, allowing candidates younger than 40 years old to run if they have prior experience serving in public office.

The ruling was obviously custom-made to clear the path for President Joko Widodo’s eldest son, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, to join the race as Prabowo’s running mate; though just 36 years old, Gibran is currently the mayor of Solo. The decision split the court and public opinion, due to such a blatant attempt at dynasty-building from the Jokowi clan.

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