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Jokowi’s son Kaesang for Jakarta governor? Indonesians fear president could bend rules to extend influence

Kaesang Pangarep is the chairman of Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI), a minor political party that has yet to meet the 4 per cent election threshold required for a party to gain seats in the national legislature.

Before assuming the PSI chairmanship in September, the president’s son was known more as an entrepreneur, selling a range of products from fried bananas and custom T-shirts to speciality coffee and rice bowls, although most of his companies were shut down after the pandemic. He was also once popular for his stock advice.

While Kaesang has not confirmed that he will run in the Jakarta gubernatorial race, his party has floated the idea of his nomination. PSI managed to gained eight seats in the Jakarta provincial legislature in February’s general elections, despite not winning any in the national parliament.

“If the administrative requirements can be fulfilled, I think Kaesang is one of the figures that we can nominate [for the Jakarta gubernatorial election]. In my opinion, he is a very good figure,” William Aditya Sarana, chairman of the PSI faction in Jakarta’s parliament, said on March 27.

A 2016 law on regional elections requires that candidates for governor and deputy governor be at least 30 years old, while candidates for mayor and deputy mayor, as well as regent and deputy regent, must be at least 25. The Jakarta gubernatorial election is set for November 27, but Kaesang will only turn 30 in December.


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On social media, PSI’s idea swiftly sparked controversy, as some fear that the law will be bent to clear a path for Kaesang’s candidacy.

In a controversial ruling, the court created an exception to the minimum age requirement of 40,