In a notable departure from their decade-long support for President Joko Widodo, Indonesia’s iconic rock band, Slank, has thrown its star power behind presidential candidate Ganjar Pranowo, underscoring a commitment to “keep democracy alive.” The surprise announcement occurred at a prominent press conference in Jakarta on Saturday, with the presence of Ganjar Pranowo and his running mate, Chief Security Minister Mohammad Mahfud.
The band’s public endorsement of Ganjar Pranowo, the former governor of Central Java, marks an important shift in their political allegiance, challenging the narrative of unwavering support for President Jokowi. Slank’s decision to back Ganjar Pranowo, considered an underdog in the race, reflects a broader sentiment among certain sections of the Indonesian populace seeking to inject fresh energy into the political landscape.
President Joko Widodo has been constitutionally barred from running for his third term. Meanwhile, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, Widodo’s eldest son has joined front-runner Prabowo Subianto, as his candidate for the vice president in the upcoming February 14 elections in Indonesia.
Ridho, another Slank guitarist asserted, “It’s very easy to choose who we want to see as the next president these days by looking at the recent manoeuvres.” Ridho also said that they could not lose hope, and that’s why they put their hope in Ganjar and Mahfud. The rock band’s commitment to “keep democracy alive” resonates against the backdrop of discussions about the consolidation of power and the importance of fostering a competitive democratic process. Slank’s endorsement underscores the influential role that cultural icons can play in shaping public opinion and influencing political dynamics.
The five-member band coined the popular song ‘Salam Dua Jari’ (‘Two Finger Salute’) in support of the first presidential campaign of Widodo back in the year 2014. For some fans of Slank, this news came as a surprise. As Indonesia approaches a critical juncture in its democratic journey, the public endorsement by Slank introduces an intriguing element into the electoral landscape. The band’s decision to back Ganjar Pranowo is poised to spark discussions on the role of celebrities in politics and the possible impact they can have on shaping and influencing the democratic discourse in the country.