The Jakarta Post
The vice-presidential candidate in the recent election, Sandiaga Uno, has expressed his intention to remain outside the ruling coalition of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, saying he planned to continue to assist ally Prabowo Subianto in working for the nation.
Speaking in response to the much-awaited meeting between Jokowi and Prabowo on Saturday — which was widely seen as a reconciliation gesture following a divisive election season — Sandiaga said he believed the former general had taken the proper stance as a statesman by putting the nation’s interest above all else.
“[Everyone] has different roles, and not all [roles] are within the government. That is what we [Sandiaga and Prabowo] have agreed upon,” Sandiaga told reporters on Sunday.
The meeting between the two erstwhile rivals did not indicate a maneuver by the Gerindra Party to join Jokowi’s government and to win a seat in the future Cabinet, Sandiaga said.
The businessman and former Jakarta deputy governor argued that an opposition was necessary in a democracy to perform checks and balances vis-à-vis the government.
“The [winner] will take a role in government and the [loser] should be the watchdog to ensure the democratic process is well implemented [in the country],” Sandiaga said.
He went on to call on his voters to support him in overseeing government policies in the future and criticize them if necessary.
The Prabowo-Sandiaga pair was the only challenger to the reelection bid of Jokowi, who ran with Muslim cleric Ma’ruf Amin, in the April election, which saw the incumbent secure a second term in office by garnering 55.5 percent of the vote against his rival’s 44.5 percent.
Concerns over a deepening polarization as a result of the election arose after Prabowo claimed victory multiple times and subsequently challenged the election results at the Constitutional Court, accusing the General Elections Commission (KPU) of committing electoral fraud that benefitted Jokowi.
The court upheld Jokowi’s victory as Prabowo’s legal team was unable to substantiate its claims, leading Jokowi and Ma’ruf to be named president and vice-president elect.
In taking a role outside the government, Sandiaga said, he would focus on providing solutions for ongoing issues in the country, including youth unemployment— an issue that had been one of the core points in the Prabowo-Sandiaga presidential campaign.
When asked about the possibility of joining Gerindra, Sandiaga said that was for Prabowo to decide. (asp/afr)