More than a month after Indonesia’s parliamentary elections, and with just less than two months until its presidential election, all eyes are on Jakarta governor Joko Widodo (most Indonesians refer to him simply as ‘Jokowi’), the frontrunner to become Indonesia’s next president. In particular, many Indonesians are watching to see who he will choose as his running mate in the July 9 vote.
Under Indonesia’s somewhat arcane system, a party (or a coalition of parties) must win either 25% of the national vote in the April parliamentary elections or hold 20% of the seats in the Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat (DPR, People’s Representative Council) in order to nominate a presidential candidate.
No single party — not even Jokowi’s — managed to surpass that hurdle. That’s led to a series of behind-the-scenes negotiations among Indonesia’s major parties to sort alliances for the July election. It makes for a uniquely Indonesian version of ‘veepstakes,’ a term normally applied to the drawn-out process whereby US presidential nominees painstakingly select a running mate. Just as in the United States, the Indonesian media is watching Jokowi’s every move this week to divine clues as to his choice.
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Among the more tantalizing names being floated is Jusuf Kalla (pictured above), who served as vice president in the first term of the outgoing incumbent, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and who currently serves as president of the Indonesian Red Cross Society.
Final results from the election were announced late last week, and the presidential candidates have until May 18 to name their running mates, a decision that usually bridges two or more parties in alliance for the presidential elections. Jokowi is set to announce his own running mate on Friday. Continue reading Veepstakes, Indonesia-style: Will Kalla return as vice president?