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Jakarta Post

‘Who are you debating with?’: Prabowo remark rubs Dems the wrong way

  • Ghina Ghaliya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, April 13, 2019   /   11:11 pm
‘Who are you debating with?’: Prabowo remark rubs Dems the wrong way  Presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto and his running mate Sandiaga Uno at the final presidential debate at the Sultan Hotel in Jakarta on Saturday. (Antara/Wahyu Putro A)

A top Democratic Party official has slammed presidential contender Prabowo Subianto over his remark in which he blamed the nation’s economic ills on President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s predecessors.

Prabowo made the remark during a televised debate with his rival, Jokowi. Prabowo said Indonesia’s economy was on the wrong track, but quickly added that: “I don’t blame you [Jokowi]. This is a big mistake of presidents before you. That’s my opinion.”

Democratic Party deputy secretary general Rachland Nashidik questioned the statement on Twitter. “Pak Prabowo, who are you debating with? Why is Pak SBY being targeted?” he tweeted, referring to Democratic Party leader and former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who served as president from 2004 to 2014.

Meanwhile, Democratic Party politician Ferdinand Hutahaean left the venue of the debate at the Sultan Hotel in Jakarta on Saturday shortly after Prabowo made the remark. 

Ferdinand rushed out of the venue on learning that a party member had been refused entry to the venue. Ferdinand met the member and hugged him, but the head of the Democratic Party's advocacy and legal division did not return inside.

"I have a stomach ache," he told reporters on Saturday night.

When asked by reporters whether he was offended by the remark, he gave a vague answer. “Maybe [Prabowo] was referring to the president of California.”

The Democratic Party is part of an alliance of parties supporting Prabowo’s presidential bid. Relations between Prabowo and Yudhoyono have been rocky in the past few months. Recently, Yudhoyono criticized Prabowo’s campaign rally, which he described as “too exclusive” and reeking of “identity politics”.

Ferdinand however asserted that the Democratic Party would remain in the coalition supporting the Prabowo-Sandiaga Uno ticket. (swd)