Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Jokowi’s ‘white hair, facial wrinkles’ statement may boost Ganjar Pranowo’s electability

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Gusty da Costa





President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s statement that the next president should have “white hair and facial wrinkles” has been seen as a blatant support for Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo as a presidential candidate in the 2024 General Elections.

Secretary General of Joko Widodo Supporting Group (Seknas Jokowi), Tumpak Sitorus, said the statement was a clear indication that the president saw Ganjar as an appropriate presidential candidate to continue his development programs. “It is clear,” he told Indonesia Business Post on November 28, 2022.

In front of thousands of people gathering at the Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta, on November 26, 2022, Jokowi called on his supporters to elect a presidential candidate who would really work for the people. In his opinion, a true leader who thinks about the people can be seen from his/her white hairs and wrinkle face – physical features that Ganjar has.

Jokowi’s reasons for supporting Ganjar

Sitorus said Jokowi’s support for Ganjar could be seen from two perspectives. First, Jokowi’s interest to comfortably ensure that his successor would continue his development programs, established by the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas).

Second, Ganjar is the right person because he hails from the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP), in which the president is also a member. His statement has shown how Jokowi wanted to dismiss there was an internal PDIP rift. The party has yet to show supports on Ganjar or Puan Maharani, the House of Representatives’ Speaker and daughter of PDIP Chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri.

Read also: Supporters believe Ganjar Pranowo will secure 2024 presidential election ticket despite PDIP’s internal conflict

“Jokowi needs to see the 2024 political interest from the current global situation. He needs to support a capable person that can guarantee the implementation of his programs,” Sitorus explained. Jokowi also wants to take a clear position to anticipate the possible polarization in the political mapping in the future, he added.

On one side, there is a political community who wants to retain the identity politic issue. Supporters of former Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan has notoriously united in this political camp. Jokowi also wants to establish a demarcation that Ganjar is a nationalist with an understanding of global economy. The president wants Ganjar to continue and implement the result of international agreements in the economy.

Sitorus said Jokowi’s endorsement for the Central Java governor – who has always been in the top three based on polls by surveyors – will increase Ganjar’s electability. “If there was an election today, Ganjar would win,” he added.

He said that Seknas Jokowi would clearly support Ganjar. However, Sitorius said his organization had its own reasons to support Ganjar as a presidential candidate.

Supporters must read between the lines

Political Communication Analyst Emrus Sihombing of the Pelita Harapan University said Jokowi’s statement should be understood in the connotative approach, instead of denotative approach.

His statement on a presidential candidate “with white hair” means the supporters should support a candidate who is mature and has experience and integrity. “It is not merely a candidate with white hair like a certain someone,” he explained.

While a candidate “with wrinkles” means a candidate who works and thinks deeply. The candidate is like a philosopher who thinks deeply and holistically on how to make the people prosper.

“We should not use this denotative approach to understand it,” Sihombing said.

Read also: United Indonesia Coalition (KIB) likely to pair Ganjar Pranowo-Airlangga Hartarto for 2024

Ganjar’s supporters were immediately trying to associate Jokowi’s statement as a full support for the governor. Jokowi still serves as the president of all presidential hopefuls in the next two years. He should not take side on certain presidential candidate.

“As a PDIP member, he can state his support. However, he should have delivered his supports before PDIP internal meeting. He can give his views and inputs on whom the party should support to win the election and bring the nation to a better condition. He should not deliver the statement in public as it will show his preference for one candidate,” Sihombing pointed out.

Jokowi, he added, could also be reprimanded by the PDIP. Based on party regulation, nominating a presidential candidate is the prerogative right of Megawati as the party chairwoman.

“As the head of the state, it is impossible for him to do that. After all, he is the president for all candidates,” Sihombing concluded.

Gusty da Costa






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