The Jakarta Post
In a rare occurrence, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan were in the same car as the two top officials inspected the athletes village and routes to the venues of the upcoming 2018 Asian Games on Monday.
Anies, widely seen as a potential rival to Jokowi in the 2019 presidential election, was recently barred from joining Jokowi's entourage when the former Jakarta governor was about to present a trophy to Persija Jakarta players, who won the President's Cup soccer tournament after defeating Bali United in the final of the competition initiated and patronized by Jokowi.
A video of the incident went viral on social media and sparked a debate over whether it reflected the rocky relationship between the two politicians.
Anies, who defeated Jokowi's close ally Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama in the second round of the Jakarta gubernatorial election last year, was removed by Jokowi from his post as culture and education minister during a reshuffle in 2016.
Anies had served as Jokowi’s spokesman during the 2014 presidential election.
On Monday, Anies sat with Jokowi in the backseat of the President's official car, while Public Works and Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono sat in the front seat next to the driver.
"Indeed, we sat in the same car. We talked about many things but generally we talked about [preparations for the] Asian Games," Anies told reporters at the Aryaduta Hotel in Central Jakarta on Monday. He added that the President gave positive feedback regarding the overall progress prior to the commencement of the prestigious quadrennial sporting event.
Anies said there was nothing political about his meeting with Jokowi, though it took place amid speculation over who Jokowi will pick as his running mate for the 2019 presidential election. (fac/ahw)