Gibran Rakabuming Raka: 5 things to know about Indonesia’s likely next and youngest vice-president

SINGAPORE — After lndonesia’s recent election, more attention than usual is being paid to the bottom half of the presidential ticket: The likely new vice-president Gibran Rakabuming Raka, the oldest son of outgoing President Joko Widodo.

Unofficial results released by independent pollsters after the election last Wednesday (Feb 14) showed that defence minister Prabowo Subianto was in the lead to become the country’s next president, with the Prabowo-Gibran team clinching about 58 per cent of votes cast.

Mr Prabowo’s rivals Anies Baswedan and Ganjar Pranowo, both former governors, trailed behind with about 25 per cent and 17 per cent of votes respectively. The unofficial results are generally regarded as being reliable.

At just 36 years of age, Mr Gibran is on track to become the youngest vice-president in the country’s history.

Here are five things to know about Mr Gibran.


Mr Gibran is the oldest child of outgoing President Joko Widodo, known as Jokowi, and his wife, First Lady Iriana. The couple have three children.

His family is deeply involved in Indonesia’s public life: Apart from his father, Mr Gibran’s brother-in-law Bobby Nasution was elected mayor of the Sumatran city of Medan in December 2020 and his uncle Anwar Usman is chief justice of the nation’s Constitutional Court.

In September 2023, Mr Gibran’s younger brother Kaesang Pangarep also entered politics by joining the Indonesian Solidarity Party and is now serving as the party’s chairman.

Mr Gibran’s wife, Ms Selvi Ananda, is a former beauty queen who won a pageant in the central Javanese city of Surakarta in 2009. The pair met when Mr Gibran was a jury member in that competition and they tied the knot in 2015. They have a son and daughter.


After completing his first nine years of education in Indonesia, Mr Gibran moved to Singapore to study at Orchid Park Secondary School.

In 2010, Mr Gibran obtained his advanced diploma from the Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS), with a degree awarded by England’s University of Bradford.

In the lead-up to the presidential election, Mr Gibran’s educational background was thrown into question when online users disputed the authenticity of his academic qualifications.

A user on social media platform X (formerly Twitter) cast doubt on how he had attained a British degree from the University of Bradford while studying in Singapore.

Critics also questioned if Mr Gibran had graduated from UTS Insearch, which is a pathway programme for foreign students who wish to study at the University of Technology Sydney in Australia.

Some media outlets previously reported that Mr Gibran had pursued further education at the University of Technology Sydney.

In an attempt to dispel the controversy, Mr Gibran presented his academic certificates obtained from MDIS to journalists at the Surakarta City Hall in November last year.

He added that he would buy “a ticket to Singapore” for those alleging that his diploma was fake so that they could visit the school personally, the Jakarta Post reported.

In the same month, MDIS also clarified that Mr Gibran’s academic qualifications were legitimate and he had graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing awarded by the University of Bradford, national daily The Straits Times reported.


Upon completing his studies in 2010, Mr Gibran returned to Indonesia and made his first foray into the entrepreneurial scene where he established Chili Pari, a catering business that grew to provide services for wedding parties.

In 2015, he started Markobar, a chain selling martabak — a savoury pancake popular in his home country — which has since expanded to 33 locations across Indonesia.

Mr Gibran’s other ventures include: Pasta Buntel, CS Coffee Shop and a raincoat enterprise named Tugas Negara Bos.

Alongside his brother Kaesang Pangarep and Indonesian celebrity chef Arnold Poernomo, he also co-founded Mangkok Ku, a start-up selling rice bowls made using Indonesian ingredients, the Jakarta Post reported.


In a surprising pivot in 2020, Mr Gibran followed in his father’s footsteps and entered the political arena, joining the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle where he achieved a landslide victory after running for mayor of Surakarta.

Several groups supporting Mr Jokowi began endorsing Mr Gibran in late 2022 as a potential vice-presidential candidate for the 2024 Indonesian presidential election. 

However, at the time of the endorsements, the criteria for becoming a vice-presidential candidate included being 40 years or older, while Mr Gibran would only be 36 at the time of the election.

In a controversial move, Mr Gibran’s uncle Anwar Usman, the chief justice of Indonesia’s Constitutional Court, amended the age limit rule to allow people under 40 to run for the presidency, or vice- presidency, if they previously held elected regional office.

Mr Jokowi’s alleged political interference after making highly publicised appearances at Mr Prabowo’s rallies also added to the debate, where critics accused him of using his clout and government resources to boost the Prabowo-Gibran campaign, which pledged to continue his policies. 

Mr Jokowi, a popular president, was constitutionally barred from seeking a third five-year term as president.

Mr Gibran’s rise up the political ranks to vice-presidential candidate has prompted talk about how the vice-president’s office may be granted more powers, while past vice-presidents in Indonesia have typically tended to play a low-key role in Indonesia.


Since last month, Mr Gibran has been actively campaigning on social media, where he boasts a whopping four million followers on Instagram and 1.4 million followers on X. 

Many of his posts documented his campaign trail with Mr Prabowo, with pictures of packed stadium rallies and visits to communities posted on his Instagram page.

On his campaign trail, Mr Gibran said that he would introduce loans for digital start-ups and continue developing the green economy in Indonesia if elected.

He also advocated for the improvement of workers’ welfare by promising to ensure fair wages and workplace safety, especially for female workers, as well as improving access to bachelor’s degree education for children.

In response to criticism that he is riding on the coat-tails of his father, Mr Gibran has said that Indonesia is a democracy where citizens are free to elect their leaders.

In a speech last Wednesday after Mr Prabowo declared victory in the elections, Mr Gibran said: “Three months ago, I was nothing. They said I was vacuous, and afraid to face the debate… But one thing is for sure, thanks to your prayers and support, Prabowo and I are here.”

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