JAKARTA, Indonesia: Anies Baswedan, the popular governor of Indonesia's capital Jakarta, said he is "prepared" to run for president in 2024, despite not being supported by any political party.
With his five-year term as governor ending next month, Baswedan, 53, has emerged in independent opinion polls as one of the top candidates for president in February 2024.
In an interview with Reuters in Singapore, he said, "I am prepared to run for president if a party nominates me. These unsolicited surveys happening before I am even campaigning I think they give me more credibility."
Other potential candidates include Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto and Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo.
Analysts said due to his popularity as head of one of Southeast Asia's largest cities, Anies is a likely frontrunner for the presidency.
But he has also been criticized for being helped by hardline Islamist groups to rise to power in Jakarta in 2017, with his opponent and former governor, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, an ethnic Chinese Christian, later jailed after being convicted of insulting Islam.
At the time, Anies, who claims to be a moderate Muslim, was accused of not doing enough to curb the widening religious and communal rifts in the world's largest Muslim-majority nation.
However, he has stressed that his policies as governor had "united the people of Jakarta."
"Before, people made assumptions about me and what I stood for and what I would do in office. Now, I have served for five years, so judge me based on reality and track record," he said.