The Jakarta Post
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo met his former challenger Prabowo Subianto on Saturday morning at an MRT station in Lebak Bulus, South Jakarta, in their first encounter following the bitterly contested presidential election.
Wearing similar white shirts, the two shook hands at the station before taking a ride together on the country’s first MRT line that began operation in March. While on the train, the two chatted privately in a closed car.
People around them chanted "we love you" as Jokowi and Prabowo were seen getting out of the train at Senayan station at 10.50 a.m.
"I have yet to take an MRT ride, so thank you Mr. President for taking me. I congratulate Jokowi as the President," Prabowo said after getting off the train.
The Gerindra Party chairman was the only contestant to challenge Jokowi’s reelection bid in April. Alongside businessman and former Jakarta deputy governor Sandiaga Uno, Prabowo rallied four political parties to support his run against Jokowi’s coalition of nine parties.
Jokowi secured his second term by capturing 55.5 percent of the vote or over 85 million ballots, while Prabowo gathered over 68 million votes or 44.5 percent of the ballots.
Prabowo, who had claimed victory multiple times since the eve of the April 17 polling day, challenged the final results at the Constitutional Court, saying that the General Elections Commission (KPU) had conspired in favor of the incumbent.
The court ruled to uphold Jokowi’s victory after Prabowo was unable to substantiate his claims.
Many have been worried that the polarization during the election would worsen since Prabowo had refrained from meeting Jokowi or congratulating him for his victory. The meeting today has supposedly dismissed the concerns.
"If leaders have good communication then it would be easier to give advice [...] because democracy needs checks and balances," Prabowo said.
"After contesting the election, alhamdulillah me and Prabowo have met again," Jokowi said.
They later headed for brunch at Sate Khas Senayan, a popular restaurant at nearby shopping center. (awa)