ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 146

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Indonesia’s main party names anti-Israel Java governor as presidential candidate

Last month Ganjar Pranowo called for boycott of Israel’s participation in the U-20 World Cup, leading to FIFA withdrawing hosting rights

Central Java governor Ganjar Pranowo waves to journalists after he was selected by the country's largest political party, Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, as its candidate for the 2024 presidential election in Bogor on April 21, 2023. (Aditya Aji/AFP)
Central Java governor Ganjar Pranowo waves to journalists after he was selected by the country's largest political party, Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, as its candidate for the 2024 presidential election in Bogor on April 21, 2023. (Aditya Aji/AFP)

JAKARTA — Indonesia’s largest party said on Friday it has nominated a popular provincial governor as its candidate for the 2024 presidential election, with outgoing President Joko Widodo backing the decision.

The selection of Central Java governor Ganjar Pranowo as the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle’s (PDI-P) candidate for the February 14 election was announced by party leader Megawati Sukarnoputri.

“It is an honor but also not an easy task for me,” Pranowo said in a livestream of the announcement. “It is our momentum to consolidate and unite powers. One for all, all for one.”

Pranowo will face stiff opposition from former Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan, who is seen as close to Indonesia’s conservative Muslims, and Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, who is running for the third time.

Widodo threw his support behind Pranowo, popularly seen as a moderate who will offer a sense of continuity.

Widodo, president since October 2014, cannot run for a third term under Indonesia’s constitution. The PDI-P is the most powerful party in his ruling coalition.

Motorists commute past a poster for the Indonesia 2023 FIFA Under-20 World Cup football tournament in Jakarta on March 30, 2023. (Bay Ismoyo/AFP)

He described Pranowo as “a leader who is close to the people and always grounded.”

“The change of leadership should not turn away from the continuity of Indonesia’s national progress that must continue,” Widodo said.

Pranowo has been a governor since 2013 and is seen as down-to-earth and social media-savvy.

However, his popularity took a big hit last month when, along with the governor of Bali, he called for a boycott of Israel’s participation in the Under–20 World Cup that had been due to be played on the island.

Indonesia and Israel do not have formal diplomatic relations and support for the Palestinian cause is high in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation.

Football’s governing body FIFA removed Indonesia as the tournament’s host over the political turmoil, leaving local football fans in dismay.

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