Indonesia Elections 2024: Prabowo’s dual role as minister, presidential hopeful risks

The constant hat-switching is concerning to analysts and activists, who told CNA that it carries the risk of power and state resources being abused for political gains during an election cycle.

Indonesia, they said, should go back to the days when ministers and top public officials are suspended from their respective positions whenever they want to participate in the presidential election as candidates.


This is the first time a sitting minister is allowed to run for president without resigning.

But the constant hat-switching is affecting Mr Prabowo’s ability to campaign far and wide, with an analyst alleging that the presidential candidate is unable to expand on his supporter base due to this.  

His rivals Mr Anies Baswedan and Mr Ganjar Pranowo are former governors whose terms ended in 2022 and 2023 respectively. Thus, they are able to freely campaign whenever and wherever they want. 

With more free time on their hands, Mr Anies and Mr Ganjar had been visiting far-flung corners of the vast archipelago, sometimes meeting voters in small towns and remote villages. They were also able to cram more agendas during their visit to a particular province and have more interactions with their respective supporters.

Mr Prabowo, on the other hand, could not campaign outside of Jakarta or travel to areas that are more than a few hours’ drive from the capital city too often due to his ministerial duties.

Whenever he does find time to visit far-flung places, it is common for the presidential frontrunner to visit two or three provinces in a single day, leaving very little time to interact with his supporters. 

His limited time also meant that Mr Prabowo tends to stick to big rallies inside sports venues and hotel ballrooms.

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