President Joko Widodo alias Jokowi yesterday met with the Democratic Party chairman Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the Presidential Palace. Yudhoyono said that the meeting with Jokowi was held to clarify a number of issues, from alleged wiretapping to pardon for former anti-graft czar Antasari Azhar to the rise of fake news.
Yudhoyono said he was pleased to have the opportunity to open up to Jokowi over the issues. “It was a pleasant way to clarify [some issue],” he said. The sixth Indonesian president went on to say that Jokowi believed that both will put national interest above all else.
Jokowi said that they had long planned to hold the meeting. The President said that political tradition between current and former presidents ought to be maintained.
Yudhoyono is the latest chairman of a political party to have met with Jokowi amid Jakarta’s heated election. Jokowi had earlier met with leaders of political parties such as the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP), the Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Party and the National Mandate Party.
State Secretary Minister Pratikno said that Yudhoyono had requested for the meeting. On Monday, the Democratic Party secretary general Hinca Panjaitan called in Pratikno to inform that SBY, Yudhoyono’s nickname, wanted to hold a friendly meeting (silaturahmi) with the President.
Jakarta-based Indopolling Network communication director Wempy Hadir said that Yudhoyono’s visit to the State Place was very important and strategic considering his not-so-harmonious relationship with Jokowi.
Wempy said that SBY might have hinted at the support from the Democratic Party, who endorsed Agus Yudhoyono-Sylviana Murni pair in the first round in Jakarta election, to switch to Basuki Tjahaja Purnama-Djarot Saiful Hidayat pair. Basuki is running on the PDIP ticket, who also backed the Jokowi administration.
Therefore, Wempy said that the Democrats must soon clarify the issue to the party’s grass-root in order to avoid anxiety ahead of the run-off election on April 19. The key issue is whether the Democratic Party coalition would support Ahok-Djarot or Anies Baswedan-Sandiaga Uno.
Pangi Syarwi Chaniago, a political observer with Voxpol Center, viewed that the meeting has opened up an opportunity for the government to enjoy a smoother political environment. “We already know that President Jokow Widodo had been nagged by the Democratic Party, among others,” Pangi said. He believed that a political transaction had happened in the meeting. “Whether relates to legal cases or a coalition for the second round [in Jakarta election].”