After World Cup yellow card, Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo wins key backing for president

The incident has divided Pranowo with Widodo, who has urged a separation of sport and politics so that the football-obsessed nation can play its first major tournament next month.


Instead, it will be played in Argentina. Indonesia, which secured a rare spot in the final as hosts, will play without a team.

Pranowo, along with Bali Governor Wayan Koster, bears much of the blame for denying Israeli participation following Sukarno’s foreign policy of historically rejecting Israel and Indonesia, a powerful activist for Palestinian self-determination.

But while it was a blow to him and the PDIP, whose stance he sympathized with, his nomination by the party, nearly nine months after the Feb. 14 election, cemented his favoritism.

Importantly, Pranovo appears to have the support of party figure Widodo, who will hand over the baton in October 2024 after 10 years in power. While their positions differ on the World Cup controversy, the president’s visit to Central Java last week was seen as a sign of their continued alliance. Widodo was also present at the announcement and delivered his own speech.


Much remains to be done before voters in the world’s third-largest democracy vote for a third directly elected president.

Recently, the PDIP held discussions with other political groups, including Subianto’s Gerindra Party, to form a coalition for the 2024 elections. If that comes to pass, Subianto, 71, who was defeated by Widodo in the 2014 and 2019 presidential elections, could enter the race as Pranowo’s vice presidential running mate.

That was reportedly a preference for Widodo, who brought Prabowo into his cabinet after his second electoral victory and sought to protect his legacy long after he left office.

Megawati is said to want Puan Maharani, 49, the speaker of the House of Representatives, for the PDIP seat, but questions have been raised about whether she has the popular support to claim the seat.

Former university president Baswedan, 53, has been endorsed as a candidate by a coalition of NasDem, Demokrat and PKS political parties.

If there are three presidential candidates in February, a runoff will be required to decide the winner unless a majority is obtained.

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