President Joko Widodo and Megawati Soekarnoputri (Image credit : Cabinet Secretary)

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) has officially declared the incumbent President Joko Widodo as presidential candidate in the 2019 presidential election. The decision was made during the party’s national working meeting in Bali on Friday (23/02).

The news broke up in the afternoon by the party’s senior politician and also Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung through its official Twitter account. Later in the day, President Joko Widodo confirmed the party’s decision.

“In the PDIP’s third national working meeting (for 2018) in Bali, the party’s Chairperson Megawati Soekarnoputri has used her prerogative right given by the party’s congress to declare me as Presidential Candidate for the period of 2019-2024,” President Joko Widodo told reporters in Bali.

The President appreciates the party for granting him the trust to become a presidential candidate. He said in the next term, if re-elected, he will assure the nation to stand on its own feet, including in areas of food, energy, finance, and defense.

When asked about Vice President candidate, Joko Widodo said it is still a matter open for discussion. “The criteria for Vice President will be discussed together with all the supporting parties,” President Widodo said.

PDIP now becomes the latest party which has officially declared Joko Widodo as the Presidential candidate in the 2019 presidential election after National Democratic Party (Nasdem) and  People’s Conscience Party (Hanura). Most existing parties that support the Joko Widodo government, with an exception of National Mandate Party (PAN), have indicated that they will support Joko Widodo, however, yet to make an official declaration, including Golkar and National Awakening Party (PKB).

The general election will be held in Indonesia on April, 17, 2019. For the first time, the President and members of People’s Consultative Assembly will be elected on the same day.
The campaign period is tentatively scheduled to take place from Oct. 18, 2018 to April 13, 2019. Determination of political parties eligible to participate in the election is due to be announced on 1 March 2018.

Based on a number of political surveys and polls, there two strongest presidential candidates that are likely to run for the 2019 presidential election, namely, the incumbent Joko Widodo and Prabowo Subianto.

The recent verdict of the Constitutional Court of a threshold for parties that can propose a presidential candidate will also limit the number of presidential candidates. Based on the court’s verdict, any party intending to put up a presidential candidate must be holding a minimum 20 per cent of the seats in the current Parliament. This implies that no single party can propose a presidential candidate. All parties are thus required to enter into a coalition to propose a presidential candidate; therefore, the current composition of seats can work to determine a coalition.

The majority of seats in the House of Representatives (DPR) is held by PDIP, with 19.4 per cent. The second-largest seat holder is Golkar Party, with 19.4 per cent, Gerindra with 13 per cent, Democratic Party 10.9 per cent, PAN 8.6 per cent, PKB 8.4 per cent, PKS 7.1 per cent, PPP 7 per cent, Nasdem 6.4 per cent and Hanura 2.9 per cent.

Based on the existing distribution of seats in the Parliament, the parties that are supporting the Joko Widodo government – PDIP, Golkar, Nasdem, National Awakening Party (PKB), United Development Party (PPP), Hanura and PAN have a combined total of 68.9 per cent of seats.