May 31, 2023
JAKARTA – In a closed-door meeting with media leaders and content creators, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo appeared to confirm that he has involved himself in the search for his successor, but maintained that he was doing it for the best of the country rather than for selfish reasons.
The meeting, held at the State Palace on Monday afternoon, saw Jokowi gather with around two dozen media figures and social media personalities.
Having hosted private meetings with political party leaders and having appeared on public outings with several presumptive presidential nominees, Jokowi has faced a flurry of accusations that he was “meddling” in the 2024 elections, referred to in the Javanese language as “cawe-cawe”.
Despite mounting criticism, Jokowi insisted that he has been doing so to ensure a smooth transition for when he steps down from office in under a year’s time and that his development programs would continue beyond 2024, according to some of the media leaders who attended Monday’s meeting.
“[The President] said that being cawe-cawe does not contravene any prevailing law, [he is actively intervening] for the country’s, not for his own personal gain,” Karni Ilyas, chief editor of national news company TV One said on Monday, as quoted by Kompas.com.
Kompas TV general manager Yogi Nugraha, said that the President had mentioned the term cawe-cawe multiple times throughout the two-hour meeting.
“[The President said] that he has to [intervene], he has to participate at the national level. But the President stressed that this was not an abuse of his power as president,” Yogi said.
To this end, Yogi said that Jokowi had promised not to use the country’s military to interfere in the presidential race. “‘I will not use the Army. I have my own way [of intervening in the 2024 presidential race] and I know full-well how to engage in good politics’,” Yogi said, quoting Jokowi’s words.
Bey Machmudin, the presidential secretariat’s deputy for protocol, press and the media, later clarified that, despite Jokowi’s admission to the forum that he was involved in the search for his successor, the President would respect any outcome of the race.
“The President will respect and accept the people’s choice. The President will also assist in the transition as best he can,” Bey said on Monday, as quoted by Kompas.com.
On May 2, the President hosted a private meeting with the leaders of six pro-government parties, excluding the NasDem Party, at the State Palace in Jakarta, during which Jokowi reportedly briefed them on a possible alliance for the 2024 presidential election.
The leading party in the ruling coalition the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), of which Jokowi is a member, has previously defended the role played by the President in influencing political-party preferences in the 2024 presidential election, saying that past presidents had played the game before.