June 6, 2023
JAKARTA – President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is scheduled to attend the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) national working meeting in Jakarta from Tuesday to Thursday, along with party matriarch Megawati Soekarnoputri and the party’s presidential candidate Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo.
The planned meeting between Jokowi and Megawati comes amid rumors of growing tensions between the two influential figures within the PDI-P after Megawati reportedly nominated Ganjar in April without consulting the President. Jokowi is believed to have felt blindsided by the decision and has appeared to shift his support from Ganjar to Gerindra Party chairman and current Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto.
Megawati is scheduled to deliver political speeches during the three-day meeting, which will be held behind closed doors, while Jokowi is set to open it and give “directions” to party members, according to head of the PDI-P’s central executive board (DPP) Djarot Saiful Hidayat. Other prominent political figures, including Jokowi’s son Surakarta Mayor Gibran Rakabuming Raka, will also be in attendance.
Secretary-general of the PDI-P’s DPP Hasto Kristiyanto said that Gibran and other regional leaders from the PDI-P would share their success stories in addressing extreme poverty and stunting problems in their respective regions. “The theme for Tuesday’s national working meeting will be that poor and neglected children are cared for by the state, which is the essence of Article 34 of the 1945 Constitution,” Hasto said in a statement on Monday.
“The meeting is proof of the PDI-P’s total support for President Jokowi’s administration and his goal of ending extreme poverty in the country by 2024,” he said, adding that Ganjar and the PDI-P were committed to continuing Jokowi’s legacy and good work in reducing poverty in the archipelago.
Hasto added that the national working meeting would discuss several crucial issues for the party prior to the upcoming elections, including formulating the best strategy to ensure the PDI-P’s victory in the elections, drafting Ganjar’s mission for the presidential race and choosing his running mate.
Speculation about a growing rift between Megawati and Jokowi has intensified in recent days as both figures are seen as competing in their roles as kingmakers in the hunt for Indonesia’s next president.
Megawati is believed to have initially disliked Jokowi’s remarks during a political rally in November 2022, in which he told thousands of his supporters to vote for a “white-haired” leader in 2024, a clear reference to the gray-haired Ganjar.
Back then, the PDI-P had not nominated the Central Java governor as its presidential candidate and analysts speculated that Megawati was seeking to endorse her own daughter House of Representatives Speaker Puan Maharani to run for the presidency.
When the PDI-P eventually decided to declare Ganjar’s nomination for the 2024 elections in a press briefing shortly before Idul Fitri on April 21, Jokowi was already in his home town of Surakarta in Central Java and he had to fly to Jakarta to take part in the event. It is said that Jokowi was not notified of the date and time of the event in an attempt to minimize his role in Ganjar’s presidential run.
Last month, Jokowi’s eldest son Gibran was summoned to the PDI-P headquarters in the capital to clarify a meeting he had held with Prabowo, which was surprisingly followed by declarations of support for the defense minister by several Jokowi-Gibran supporter groups.
This had led political analysts to speculate that Gibran’s decision to meet with Prabowo and to allow his supporters to pledge their support for him was reflective of his father’s political preferences.
The ruling party exempted Gibran from sanctions over the controversy, opting instead to give the President’s eldest son “ample advice” to beware of political maneuverers coming at him seeking to leverage their political interests ahead of the upcoming election. (ahw)