Newsmakers / September 2018

Jockeying for Vice Presidency

Prominent businessman and former Jakarta Deputy Governor Sandiaga Uno is now running for the vice presidency in the 2019 presidential election. Having climbed through the ranks and become one of the richest men in Indonesia, he aims to do the same with his political career. Sandiaga Salahudin Uno was born in Pekanbaru, Riau, on June 28, 1969. The graduate from Wichita State University then attained his MBA from George Washington University. He co-founded PT. Recapital Advisors with his high school friend, Rosan Perkasa Roeslani, who is now chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce (Kadin). He then co-founded Saratoga Capital with Edwin Soeryadjaya, the son of the late William Soerjadjaja. Both businesses continue to flourish to this day. Sandiaga was awarded the Indonesian Entrepreneur of the Year award by Enterprise Asia in 2008. In 2015, Sandiaga entered politics, joining Prabowo Subianto's Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) and assumed the position of deputy chairman of the party's board of patrons. He was then elected deputy governor of Jakarta after winning a hard-fought battle against Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama and Djarot Saiful Hidayat. After 10 months, Gerindra nominated him to run as vice president following Prabowo's announcement on his candidacy for the presidency. Sandiaga is also endorsed by the National Conscience Party (PAN) and Prosperous Justice Party (PKS). The Democratic Party, chaired by former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, did not announce its support by the time of the announcement, although Prabowo met with the former president at his residence in August. The Democratic Party has subsequently declared its support for Prabowo's 2019 presidential bid. The candidate pair also received the backing of Tommy Suharto's Beringin Karya Party (Berkarya). In his nomination speech, Sandiaga promised to form a strong government if he is elected and build an economy focused on job creation. He also said he would focus on stabilizing food prices. In an interview with GlobeAsia in 2017, while still deputy governor, Sandiaga said he had been friends with Prabowo for a long time and had worked as a consultant for his businesses in the early 2000s. It was after this that Prabowo encouraged him to get involved in his party. After getting the green light from his business partners and family, Sandiaga resigned from all positions he held in the private sector and began his journey as a politician. His supporters' group, known as Sandi Uno Digital Volunteer, or Soldier, is meanwhile ready to back the Prabowo-Sandiaga candidacy in the upcoming election as part of their efforts to accommodate the aspirations of the people and create a better economy. Anthony Leong, coordinator of the group, said he is optimistic that his movement will bring about positive change. "We are ready with our digital platform. As the younger generation, we see Prabowo and Sandiaga as an ideal team and we must be part of that change they will bring about," he said.