Kaesang Pangarep’s Potential Move to PSI Sparks Political Speculation

The Instagram channel of the Indonesian Solidarity Party (Partai Solidaritas Indonesia, or PSI) recently set the internet ablaze with a video featuring an anonymous figure named Mawar. In the short video, Mawar explains her identity and reasons for joining PSI. What made Mawar’s appearance noteworthy was the striking resemblance between her silhouette and the youngest son of President Joko Widodo, Kaesang Pangarep. Kaesang has been frequently associated with PSI in various activities, and there have even been calls within the party for him to run as a prospective mayoral candidate in Depok for the 2024 local elections. Some even suggest that Kaesang might be considered a potential leader of PSI, speculating that the video’s political undertones could hint at such a move.

As the video circulated, there was no immediate denial or confirmation from Kaesang’s side. The Acting Secretary-General of PSI, Isyana Bagoes Oka, addressed the speculation but refrained from confirming or denying it. Instead, she requested that the media exercise patience and await further announcements from PSI’s Central Executive Board. “I request your understanding. I’m sorry I can’t provide more information at this moment. If there’s any information we can share with the media, we will certainly do so. Please bear with us,” she stated after attending the National Meeting of the Democratic Party on the evening of September 21, 2023.

Isyana mentioned that any updates regarding Kaesang’s fate would be revealed at an appropriate time. When asked about the timing of this revelation, she chose not to disclose it, saying, “We are waiting for the right moment. Hopefully, it will be soon. When the time is right, we will inform the media.”

Up to the present, Giring Ganesha has remained the Chairman of PSI, even though he hasn’t been personally present at several official events, often represented by other PSI members. Isyana confirmed this by briefly stating, “Yes, it’s still Giring.”

On the other hand, President Joko Widodo has publicly acknowledged that his youngest son has sought his blessings to join PSI. “In a family, we ask for blessings as a customary practice. Even if I said no, he would still go ahead because that’s how my son is,” President Jokowi commented after laying the foundation stone for the Nusantara Hotel in IKN Nusantara, Penajam Paser Utara, Kalimantan Timur, on September 21, 2023. Jokowi emphasized that whatever decision Kaesang makes would be his own responsibility, stating, “I’ve often told my children that once they are married, have children, and have a wife, they must be independent and responsible.”

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Central Executive Board of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP), Djarot Saiful Hidayat, issued a reminder regarding the rumors of Kaesang joining PSI. He urged caution in rushing to make political decisions and emphasized the need for careful consideration. Djarot himself was uncertain whether Kaesang had already made a decision to join PSI or if it was merely speculation. He advised, “We don’t know yet if Mr. Kaesang has made a decision. But my advice is to be cautious when joining political organizations; don’t rush into it.”

Djarot also raised concerns about political parties that focus on image-building rather than substantive policies to win electoral support. He attributed this phenomenon to the lack of political education and cadet development within these parties. “We should pay attention to how political education and party cadet programs are structured. This applies to all parties,” he stressed.

Djarot also reminded everyone that, within PDIP, there is a rule that family members should not belong to different political parties. Any deviation from this rule will be noted by the PDIP leadership and subject to evaluation. “For me, it’s a note that suggests I haven’t been able to provide political education, awareness, and guidance regarding political choices to my younger brother. It’s an evaluation for me,” he explained.

A political analyst from Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting (SMRC), Saidiman Ahmad, shed light on the likelihood of Kaesang joining PSI, though there is no definitive confirmation yet. He suggested that PSI’s continuous promotion of Kaesang as a potential mayoral candidate for Depok has paved the way for this possibility. “Given the longstanding rapport that has been built, it wouldn’t be surprising if Kaesang officially joins PSI,” Saidiman stated when contacted by Tirto on September 22, 2023. Saidiman noted that PSI’s demographic, largely comprised of young people, aligns well with Kaesang’s innovative and progressive persona, making him a suitable fit for the party. “PSI seems well-suited for figures like Kaesang. So far, they have accommodated not only young members but also embraced new ideas. A figure like Kaesang, who is innovative, fits well with the progressive nature of PSI,” he explained.

In addition to Kaesang benefiting from such a move, PSI may also receive a boost in popularity, given Kaesang’s significant public following. If Kaesang were to join PSI, it could transform him from a regular public figure into a politician, potentially elevating PSI’s profile. “Conversely, considering Kaesang’s substantial popularity, his move to PSI could enhance PSI’s popularity,” Saidiman commented.

A political analyst from the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), Wasisto Raharjo Jati, emphasized that there would be consequences if Kaesang decided to join PSI. The direct impact would be on Kaesang’s older brothers, Gibran Rakabuming Raka and Bobby Nasution, who currently hold the positions of mayor with the support of PDIP. “The consequences might affect Gibran and Bobby if they both decide to run in the upcoming elections,” Wasisto explained.

As speculation continues to swirl around Kaesang’s potential move to PSI, political observers and the public eagerly await any official announcements that may shed light on the matter. The Indonesian political landscape is undoubtedly evolving, and Kaesang’s decision could have far-reaching implications for both PSI and the wider political arena.