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Jakarta Post

Jokowi meets Prabowo: Still possible for Gerindra to join government

  • Ghina Ghaliya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, July 13, 2019   /   02:58 pm
Jokowi meets Prabowo: Still possible for Gerindra to join government President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo (right) talks to Gerindra Party chairman Prabowo Subianto during their MRT ride on Saturday. The meeting was the first between the two leaders after the April presidential election. (Antara/Wahyu Putro A)

During a meeting between President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and former challenger Prabowo Subianto on Saturday, both leaders said that there was still a possibility for Prabowo’s Gerindra Party to join the ruling coalition.

Jokowi said, however, he should discuss it with party leaders in the ruling coalition about inviting Gerindra, which was in opposition during his first term in office.

"Regarding the coalition [with Gerindra], I have to discuss it with my friends in the coalition. Prabowo will do the same [with his supporters]," Jokowi said at an MRT station in Senayan, Central Jakarta.

Both met at Lebak Bulus station in South Jakarta and took a ride to Senayan and had a private chat.   

Prabowo, who met the press with Jokowi at Senayan station, said he had conveyed to the President that he was ready to help the government, providing a signal he could join the ruling coalition.

"Being a president is about serving. It is a great responsibility. We are ready to help if needed. Sorry if I criticize you once in a while," he said to Jokowi in front of reporters.  

Prabowo said he would keep criticizing the government as part of democracy. He also said that it was also possible that he would remain as an opposition force that would give balance to the Jokowi administration.

“I’m ready to be in opposition as well,” Prabowo said after having a meal with Jokowi at a shopping center in Central Jakarta. Earlier, the two took an MRT train together and chatted privately in a closed car.  

Only the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) has asserted its commitment to remain in the opposition camp.

Executives of the National Mandate Party (PAN) and the Democratic Party that had supported Prabowo as well as Gerindra have expressed interest in joining the government.

While saying that they would abide by Jokowi’s demands, parties in the ruling coalition have begun to voice their objection to Gerindra and other former Prabowo allies joining the coalition. They are concerned that the number of ministerial posts allocated to them will be reduced to accommodate Prabowo supporters.

Jokowi-supporting parties said they did not need more allies since the ruling coalition— consisting of nine political parties including legislative election winner the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P)—have secured more than half of the seats in the House of Representatives.

Jokowi is expected to lead a strong government in his second term after securing a majority in the legislative body. (awa)