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Jakarta Post

Diehard Jokowi supporters say goodbye after Prabowo appointed to Cabinet

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, October 24, 2019   /   09:13 pm
Diehard Jokowi supporters say goodbye after Prabowo appointed to Cabinet President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo greets Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto during the inauguration of Cabinet ministers at the State Palace in Jakarta on Wednesday. (JP/Seto Wardhana)

Projo, a volunteer group that had supported President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo since before his first-term presidency, has bid farewell to the Indonesian leader after he picked erstwhile opponent and Gerindra Party chairman Prabowo Subianto as the new defense minister in his Indonesia Onward Cabinet.

The group, which supported Jokowi during both the 2014 and 2019 presidential elections, said they did not understand the President’s decision to include Prabowo in his second-term Cabinet.

“We are disappointed knowing that Prabowo has become defense minister, considering Prabowo was our big enemy [during the election]. We fought very hard, but now [Prabowo] is the defense minister,” Projo secretary-general Handoko said as quoted by kompas.com.

Projo was one of the biggest volunteer groups supporting Jokowi in the 2014 and 2019 presidential campaigns, both of which were politically divisive, putting supporters of Jokowi and supporters of Prabowo at odds.

In addition, Projo members expressed disappointment over NET TV cofounder Wishnutama Kusubandio’s appointment as tourism and creative economy minister in the Cabinet. 

Projo Jakarta chapter leader Karl Sibarani said Wishnutama did not once “bleed and sweat” while supporting Jokowi in both elections. 

Projo chairman Budi Arie Setiadi said separately on Tuesday evening, hours after the President announced his new Cabinet lineup, that the organization’s duty to support Jokowi in the 2014 and 2019 elections had finished. 

“Projo’s political duty to protect Jokowi for two periods [of presidency] has been concluded,” Budi said as quoted by tempo.co

Previously, Jokowi Mania volunteer group chairman Immanuel Ebenezer expressed disappointment on behalf of the group following a meeting with the President on Sunday evening, during which Jokowi told the volunteers that Gerindra would get seats in the Cabinet. 

“We're actually a little disappointed because people like me in particular will have to face [the supporters] on the ground," he said.

"But this is the President's choice. We won't wallow in disappointment because, whatever the President does, he has his own considerations, political considerations as well as considerations to unite this nation in the future.” (gis)