The registration period for the presidential and vice-presidential candidates started on August 4th, 2018. However, both incumbent Indonesian President Joko Widodo and his rival Gerindra Chairman Prabowo Subianto were reluctant to announce their vice-presidential candidates and waited until almost the last moment with announcing their running mates. It was a sort of tactical chess game, or – perhaps a more accurate comparison – a card game where both rivals did not want to show their hand in order to keep their strategy secret, thus giving the opponent little time to organize and orchestrate a well thought counter-strategy.

Both candidates’ reluctance to announce their vice-presidential candidate ahead of – or directly at the start of - the registration period can also be seen as a sign that Widodo and Subianto were both unsure about their choice or that there was disagreement within each coalition about who would be the best running mate.

It are indeed challenging times currently for Indonesia as economic growth is not at the desired level due to heavy external pressures and subdued domestic household consumption, while political opponents of Widodo (and their supporters) are eager to incite religious tensions and spread hoaxes to create chaos and anxiety in society with the purpose of undermining popular support for Widodo. The 2017 gubernatorial election in Jakarta proved that such tactics are a successful tool to remove the incumbent leader. Amid a high degree of chaos and tensions incumbent governor Ahok lost the election (and in fact was jailed in a highly controversial blasphemy case).

Therefore the choice for vice-presidential candidate could be a crucial one ....

Read the full article in the August 2018 of Indonesia Investments' research report

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