Indonesia will hold its next general election on Feb. 14, 2024, easing speculation that President Joko Widodo would seek to extend his second term in the world’s largest Muslim democracy.
Parliament agreed with the government and the election committee on the date, Home Minister Tito Karnavian said at parliament late on Monday. Regional elections to vote for provincial governors and regency chiefs will be held on Nov. 27 of the same year.
While the constitution bars presidents from serving more than two terms, Investment Minister Bahlil Lahadalia suggested that many in the business community were hoping for a delay in the 2024 election to minimize political disturbances and help steady economic growth momentum.
“They are just recovering from a health crisis, so the possibility of being hit again by political instability” isn’t a good thing, said Lahadalia during a presentation of a recent election survey by pollster Indikator Politik on Jan. 12.
The speculation about extending Jokowi’s term had been seen as an attempt to safeguard a $34 billion project for a new capital city that backers say is key to sustaining an economy recovery from the pandemic. The president has repeatedly voiced his opposition to the extension idea or to running for a third term, which would require an amendment to the 1945 Constitution.
“The approval of the date signals that the elite is prepared to move on with the 2024 agenda, and that the government had no arguments anymore to delay any further,” said Marcus Mietzner, an assistant professor of political science at the Australian National University.
Still, “there might be further attempts down the road as the construction of the new capital starts and justifications for an extension built around that seem more plausible,“ Mietzner added.
While no one has publicly said they would run for presidency, recent surveys indicate that Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo and Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan may become frontrunners due to their rising popularity. Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto also ran in the past two elections, losing both to the president known as Jokowi.
Other names getting attention from local media outlets include West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil; parliamentary speaker Puan Maharani, who is also a daughter of former President Megawati Soekarnoputri; Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno; and State Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir, who played a central role in Jokowi’s last campaign.
Pranowo was chosen by 28.2% of respondents in a survey by pollster Charta Politika in December, while 23.8% picked Subianto, who is also leader of Gerindra party. Baswedan was picked by 19.6% of respondents, while Kamil and Uno each received 5.8% support.