Ganjar Pranowo: I Am Loyal to Megawati and Jokowi
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - GANJAR Pranowo’s nomination as the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle’s (PDI-P) presidential candidate cannot be separated from the influence of the party’s Chair Megawati Soekarnoputri and President Joko Widodo. Ganjar, the current Central Java Governor, has indeed acknowledged the two leaders’ pivotal roles in his candidacy.
He said Jokowi’s support was impactful and boosted his electability. Meanwhile, Megawati’s role was crucial for the party’s nomination of him as its presidential candidate. “I’m fortunate to have the support of the two leaders,” Ganjar, 54, said.
But Ganjar still faces many issues after the nomination. His electability plunged following his rejection of the Israel national soccer team in the U-20 World Cup that was initially slated to take place in Indonesia. He is also aware that some of the PDI-P voters who support Puan Maharani, Megawati Soekarnoputri’s daughter, are still reluctant to accept his candidacy.
Ganjar received Tempo at his official residence in Semarang, on Wednesday, May 31, and answered questions starting with the internal situation within the PDI-P to his assessment of the Jokowi administration. Ganjar’s tone occasionally rose when he was asked about his ideas as a presidential candidate in the 2024 general elections.
President Joko Widodo acknowledged his intervention in the presidential election. Do you translate it as helping you win the election?
For the nation and continuity.
You are considered one of the candidates who received Jokowi’s endorsement.
Pak Jokowi encourages a lot of leaders, such as Mbak Puan Maharani, Pak Airlangga Hartarto, Pak Erick Thohir, me, and Pak Prabowo Subianto. Intervention in the sense that he participated in lobbying as he was evidently present when PDI-P’s presidential candidate was announced in Batutulis, Bogor.
Your nomination can’t be separated from the support of Megawati Soekarnoputri and President Jokowi. What is your response to this assertion?
Pak Jokowi endorsed my candidacy first before the party’s decision. He said I fit the criteria of a silver-haired and wrinkle-faced leader. Then the volunteers got to work. I scored the highest electability that which became one of the considerations for the party. Ibu Mega then made the decision and the party consolidated. I’ve been fortunate to receive the support of the two leaders with experience as presidents.
How important is their support to your nomination?
Pak Jokowi is an extremely important factor if we talk about the electoral effect before the party’s announcement. We traveled together giving the impression that I was his close ally. According to surveys, most of Pak Jokowi’s supporters leaned toward me. Meanwhile, Ibu Mega at the time was still waiting for internal consolidation and weighing various considerations. Pak Jokowi’s support that came before the announcement was important in gathering volunteers, and Ibu Mega’s support was (critical in gaining) the party’s support as only parties, not individuals, can nominate presidential candidates.
Whom are you more loyal to?
They are like the two sides of the same coin that can’t be separated. I’m loyal to both Ibu Mega and Pak Jokowi. As a governor, I’m loyal to President Jokowi but I’m also a PDI-P cadre who is loyal to Ibu Mega. On the one side, I’m part of the government. On the other hand, I’m a party cadre.
Lately, you seem more dutiful to Megawati, such as in rejecting the Israel national team in U-20 World Cup.
I had to speak as the Central Java governor to remind about the presence of the Israel team. The PDI-P Faction also talked about it. Did Indonesia really fail to hold the event only because of me? I tried to place the issue in a discussion framework. How come we can’t have different opinions?
How will you free yourself from the shadows of Megawati and Jokowi?
I’m even thinking about setting up a presidents’ club, a community for former presidents and vice presidents. I can ask any living presidents because I don’t have any problem with any of them. I maintain really good communication with them.
Can you be independent in decision-making?
All elected presidents can be independent because the power is in their hands. They have the prerogative. But I understand that there are sources that must be consulted before making decisions. I think all the presidents have done that so the elected president will have a mountain of references for decision-making. We should not be bitter about being perceived as or labeled a future puppet.
What is your definition of the term ‘party official’ often used by Megawati?
It’s easy. When she met with United Development Party (PPP) officials, Ibu Megawati said, “I will kepruk (hit) Ganjar if he doesn’t serve the people.” It means she was ordering me to focus on taking care of the people although Ibu Mega never forces her orders. She usually asks about environmental, women, and food issues.
What if the (party) chief requests and interferes (in the selection) of cabinet ministers?
There are many ways to communicate and negotiate this matter. Do you believe in power-sharing? Power can be solidified further through this discussion. Required candidates must have the competency. If they are not suitable, then reshuffle and (have a) dialog with the party chair.
You are sure you can do that?
President has the authority and prerogative. He must possess good political communication. On top of that, it’s important that he sets the rules of the game with his party. The party may suggest but the decision is in the hand of the president. This way, a zaken cabinet (a cabinet consisting of experts instead of party representatives) can be formed.
Read the Full Interview in Tempo English Magazine
Click here to get the latest news updates from Tempo on Google News