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Jakarta Post

Yudhoyono voices support for Jokowi's policies, says Dems will remain balancing power

  • Ghina Ghaliya
    Ghina Ghaliya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, December 12, 2019   /   02:17 pm
Yudhoyono voices support for Jokowi's policies, says Dems will remain balancing power Great loss: Former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (center) pays his final respects to his late wife, former first lady Kristiani Herrawati, better known as Ani Yudhoyono, during a funeral with military honors led by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo at the Kalibata Heroes Ceremony in South Jakarta on June 2. First Lady Iriana (third right), former president BJ Habibie (third left), former president Megawati Soekarnoputri (second right), former first lady Sinta Nuriyah Abdurrahman Wahid (right) and former vice president Boediono (second left) and his wife, Herawati (left), attended the funeral. (The Jakarta Post/Seto Wardhana )

Democratic Party chairman and former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has asserted the political stance of the party, which is not part of the ruling coalition, toward the President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo administration. 

Yudhoyono, in his first official speech since the swearing in of Jokowi for a second term, said on Wednesday that the Dems would support the government while at the same time remain critical of policies it deemed misguided. 

While defending some of Jokowi’s programs and policies that had been criticized, the Dems patron advised others not to distract the government with trivial matters so that it could focus on handling current economic issues.

"Considering that [Indonesia] is facing economic issues, don't bother the government with trivial problems. The government needs social and political stability so that development can progress,” Yudhoyono said.

Yudhoyono praised government programs and policies several times during his speech, such as the country’s fiscal policy, and insisted that people should not readily blame the government when a problem occurred.

He said 2020 state budget, allocations of which mainly focus on infrastructure development and social protection, was prudent and credible enough.

Yudhoyono also defended the government against assumptions that the country’s democracy, civil liberties and people's sovereignty seemed to be unimportant in the eyes of the Jokowi administration amid the latter’s efforts to pursue economic growth.

"We are breaking the myth that we have to choose between democracy and the economy or freedom and security. We have proven that economic growth can be managed without taking democracy, freedom and people's sovereignty for granted.”

Democratic secretary-general Hinca Pandjaitan asserted that for the next five years, the Dems would remain a balancing party in the country’s political sphere — the same stance it took in 2014. 

"Our political stance remains the same, we support the good [policies] and criticize the bad ones,” Hinca said, “We want to be in the middle to support the country.”

Amid the praise and support for the government, Yudhoyono also mentioned in his speech Jokowi’s administration’s plan to relocate the capital from Jakarta, reminding the government to be careful, especially in terms of funding.

He also highlighted the state revenue targets, both tax and non-tax, as well as the risk of an economic recession amid current global conditions.

Prior to the 2019 presidential election, Yudhoyono reportedly offered his eldest son Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono as Jokowi’s running mate. Jokowi, however, declined and picked Muslim cleric Ma’ruf Amin to run with him in his reelection bid. 

Yudhoyono also reportedly offered Agus as a minister in Jokowi’s second and final term in office when the President was still mulling his Cabinet lineup in mid-October. In the end, the only opposition figures that President welcomed in his Cabinet were from the Gerindra Party, including his erstwhile rival Prabowo Subianto.