With the installation of Anies-Cak Imin, the support for this pair has significantly increased in West Java and East Java. To some extent in Central Java. A recent survey shows that Anies leads in East Java. #kbanews
IN the 2018 West Java gubernatorial election, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) did not support Ridwan Kamil. There were sensitive issues that reportedly led Megawati to reject Ridwan Kamil. What were those issues? They might resurface if Ridwan Kamil enters the political arena in 2024.
Ridwan Kamil wouldn’t be Ridwan Kamil if he couldn’t win over Megawati. When it comes to political maneuvering, Ridwan Kamil is known to be quite adept. He is very skilled, and his moves are quite slick.
In the 2018 West Java gubernatorial election, Ridwan Kamil was supported by the Nasdem Party. Knowing that Nasdem would support Anies, Ridwan Kamil switched to Golkar. Whether this was planned or just a coincidence, in politics, there is no such thing as a coincidence. Ridwan Kamil officially declared himself a Golkar cadre. It seems that, until today, Golkar has not given Ridwan Kamil the opportunity to contest the 2024 presidential election.
Ridwan Kamil is intelligent. He made a psychological investment in Megawati. How? By erecting a statue of Bung Karno in West Bandung, West Java. This was expected to change Megawati’s mind. Although there were protests from various quarters, the plan to build the Bung Karno statue continued in West Java, with Ridwan Kamil serving as the governor.
The issue is not with the construction of the Bung Karno statue itself. The people are certainly happy to have a statue of the proclaimer standing tall. What is protested is not the statue but its budget. The budget for the Bung Karno statue is 10-20 trillion Indonesian Rupiah. This budget is considered excessive at a time when the economy is not in good shape. Perhaps the timing was also off.
The plan to allocate the budget for the Bung Karno statue continues. For Ridwan Kamil, this may be a political investment in Megawati. Someday, this could be beneficial, especially as the 2024 presidential election approaches.
The time has come when Prabowo and Anies Baswedan gain strength in West Java in the 2024 presidential election survey. Especially Anies Baswedan, after Muhaimin Iskandar, or familiarly known as Cak Imin, joined the race. Anies’s vote is predicted to soar in West Java.
Anies Baswedan received an influx of votes from Nahdhiyin (members of the Nahdlatul Ulama) after Cak Imin was chosen as Anies Baswedan’s vice-presidential candidate. With the Anies-Cak Imin pair, their support has significantly increased in West Java and East Java, and to some extent in Central Java. Recent surveys even show Anies leading in East Java.
In this context, Ridwan Kamil has bargaining power in West Java. Prabowo’s votes from his Islamist base, which have been eroded by Cak Imin’s presence, may consider Ridwan Kamil, who is, after all, the Governor of West Java.
However, Golkar, the party that is in a coalition with Gerindra, wants Airlangga Hartarto as Prabowo’s vice-presidential candidate. They are even competing with Erick Tohir, who has been proposed by the National Mandate Party (PAN).
Why did PAN propose Erick Tohir? Is Erick Tohir a PAN cadre? Does Erick Tohir have high electability? Only the chairman of PAN and God can answer these questions.
Ridwan Kamil’s opportunity to become a vice-presidential candidate is not lost. He can still offer himself to PDIP.
Here, the controversial budget allocation for the Bung Karno statue could be used as leverage for Ridwan Kamil with Megawati. Moreover, Ganjar needs votes from West Java. Ganjar’s electability, as shown in many surveys, is declining in West Java.
Can Ridwan Kamil, when partnered with Ganjar, defeat Prabowo or Anies Baswedan-Cak Imin?
It seems difficult. This is because in the 2018 West Java gubernatorial election, Ridwan Kamil received significant votes from his support base, Uu Ruzhanul Ulum. Uu Ruzhanul Ulum’s base is affiliated with the United Development Party (PPP). Ridwan Kamil also received votes from the National Awakening Party (PKB), which supported him in the 2018 West Java gubernatorial election.
Currently, the Nahdhiyin base, both from PPP and PKB, tends to support Anies Baswedan-Cak Imin. Anies and Cak Imin’s bases in West Java are solid and militant. Meanwhile, without Uu Rizhanul Ulum and the support of PKB, not much can be expected from Ridwan Kamil in competing with Prabowo and Anies-Cak Imin. This prediction can be noted in various future surveys.
On the other hand, Ridwan Kamil faces another problem. He is a member of Golkar, while Golkar is in a coalition with Prabowo.
Will Ridwan Kamil switch sides to the opposing party while he only recently joined Golkar? The stigma of being a “political opportunist,” moving from Nasdem (supported in the gubernatorial election) to Golkar and from Golkar to PDIP, will emerge and become a political perception burden. This burden has the potential to downgrade Ridwan Kamil’s votes.
In the end, Mahfudz MD is waiting to be approached by PDIP to compete with Cak Imin for the Nahdhiyin votes in East Java. But it would be much more elegant if Mahfudz announced that he “Will Support Cak Imin in the 2024 Presidential Contest.”
This way, Mahfudz’s Nahdhiyin spirit, especially in PKB, will be well-received. PKB and Nahdhiyin are solid, and Mahfudz MD will be remembered as a wise father of Nahdhiyin. However, even in a contest against Cak Imin, it will still be difficult to win. Cak Imin is a seasoned politician and the chairman of a party. He has a political and logistical machine compared to Mahfudz.
So, will PDIP choose Mahfudz MD as Ganjar’s vice-presidential candidate to focus on East Java? Or will they choose Ridwan Kamil, who has invested through the Bung Karno statue in West Java? Or will they choose someone else? Let’s wait and see in the near future.
Dr. Tony Rosyid, Political Observer and Columnist