There is distance between us, SBY says of relationship with Megawati
Karina M. Tehusijarana
The Jakarta Post
Democratic Party chairman Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has hinted that Megawati Soekarnoputri was the reason his party has not supported President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s reelection bid.
In a press conference held at his home in Kuningan, South Jakarta, on Wednesday evening Yudhoyono said he and Jokowi had discussed the possibility of his party joining the pro-government coalition for more than a year and that he had a good relationship with the President.
However, “obstacles” have prevented the Democratic Party from joining forces with Jokowi.
“Every time we talk, I always ask Jokowi whether the other parties in the coalition would accept our presence and he always answered. ‘Yes, because I am the President,’” Yudhoyono said. “But it has always been a question for me, since in reality, the relationship between Bu Megawati and I has not fully recovered. There is still some distance between us.”
Ties between Yudhoyono and the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) chairwoman have been strained since he decided to run against then-president Megawati in the 2004 presidential elections. He was serving her Cabinet as coordinating political, legal and security affairs at the time.
“It seems that there are hurdles for the Democrats to join [Jokowi’s] coalition,” he said. “Even though I truly feel Jokowi’s sincerity in inviting the Democratic Party, I also realize, and I do not need to name the sources, that the path is not open for the Democrats to join his coalition.”
He added that he still had the highest respect for Jokowi and Megawati.
“I respect her very much as a former president and also as my president at that time,” he said. (ahw)
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