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Jakarta Post

‘Like a slap in the face,’ Jokowi says no to third presidential term

  • Marchio Irfan Gorbiano

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, December 2, 2019   /   04:28 pm
 ‘Like a slap in the face,’ Jokowi says no to third presidential term President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo. (JP/Wienda Parwitasari)

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has said he will not back proposals to the amend the 1945 Constitution, particularly a proposal to increase the presidential term limit, saying that a such plan was akin to a “slap in the face”.  

Jokowi said on Monday that he was initially open to the idea of a limited constitutional amendment to revive the now-defunct State Policy Guidelines (GBHN).  

However, as discussions have since strayed from this initial idea to include proposals to increase the presidential term limit from two terms to three and for the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) to elect the president, he said it was better to scrap plans for an amendment altogether. 

“It would be better if there was no [constitutional] amendment. Let us concentrate on external pressures that are difficult to handle,” Jokowi told the press at Merdeka Palace in Central Jakarta, emphasizing that he was “the product of a direct election”. 

Read also: 3 terms in office for president? Proposals for more terms put forth at MPR

“There are some who say a president should remain in office for three terms,” he added, “[This proposal] has three [possible meanings] for me. One, [they] want to slap my face; second, [they are] a sycophant; or three, [they] only want to ensnare [me].”

Proposals to amend the 1945 Constitution have been put forth at the MPR for the past few months, with MPR Speaker Bambang Soesatyo initially indicating he would pursue a limited constitutional amendment to revive the GBHN upon being elected to the position.

However, discussions have since snowballed, with parties floating ideas to increase the presidential term limit and scrap direct elections.

Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the country’s largest Islamic organization, also recently suggested that the president and vice president should be elected by the MPR, an arrangement that harks back to the days of the New Order era.