August 17, 2023
JAKARTA – President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo rebutted suggestions that the people should be looking to him to decide on the nation’s next leaders, as he delivered his penultimate State of the Nation address in Jakarta on Wednesday.
Jokowi appeared to make light of unnamed individuals who hinted that it was the role of the “village chief” to decide on political maneuvers aimed at achieving certain outcomes ahead of the 2024 elections, including in the choice of presidential and vice-presidential candidates.
“We are now entering a political year. The situation has mildly escalated. The trend among politicians and those in political parties, whenever asked about their candidates for president and vice president, their answers will be, ‘there hasn’t been any instruction from the village chief,’” the President said, opening his speech.
“These days, I realize that that ‘village chief’ refers to me,” he quipped, to laughter from the audience.
Jokowi then insisted that determining election candidates was the sole remit of political parties or coalitions of parties.
“I am neither the chairperson of a political party nor the leader of a coalition of political parties […] It is not the authority of this ‘village chief’ to decide,” he stressed.
The President has previously admitted to the inevitability of cawe-cawe (political interference), an accusation often squarely leveled at him even as other members of the big-tent coalition actively seek out his successor.
Jokowi is constitutionally barred from seeking a third term in office. Even so, he outlined in his speech certain requirements for the nation’s next crop of leaders.
He urged them to use existing strategies to achieve the 2045 Golden Indonesia vision, whether it involves making the most of the “demographic dividend” or seizing opportunities afforded by the “international trust” placed in Indonesia.
The continued development of human capital, the push for a more green economy and the downstreaming of commodity-based industry, he believed, were “windows of opportunity” to speed up the nation’s progress.
“Indonesia must transform into a developed nation that is able to manage her resources, provide added-value and bring about prosperity for the people,” Jokowi said in his speech.
In order to achieve this, the President said that the next leader must be able to earn the public’s trust and get the entire country to cooperate in the nation-building process.
Over the course of his nearly nine years in office, the Jokowi administration has developed a distinct brand of resource nationalism that looks to raise Indonesia to be a par with other developed industrial nations. (tjs)