May 11, 2023
JAKARTA – The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) has defended the role taken by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo in influencing political parties’ preference in the 2024 presidential election, saying that past presidents had played the game before.
Secretary-general of the PDI-P Hasto Kristiyanto said President Jokowi was only carrying on a political tradition where the incumbent, including the sitting vice president, made efforts to influence the outcome of an election.
Hasto was responding to criticism from former vice president Jusuf Kalla who blasted Jokowi for his repeated efforts to coax leaders of the major political parties in his ruling coalition to back his preferred political candidates to run in the 2024 presidential election.
“Empirically speaking this has been done by previous presidents. If anything Pak JK was, in fact, the head of the steering committee in the campaign for the Pak Jokowi-Ma’ruf Amin ticket,” Hasto told reporters on Monday, referring to Kalla by his initials.
In a press conference held over the weekend, Kalla advised Jokowi to steer clear of politics in the final years of his presidency and followed in the footsteps of his predecessors Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) and Megawati Soekarnoputri to allow for a free competition in the presidential election.
“The President should emulate Ibu Mega and SBY, when their terms expired they did not want to involve themselves too deeply, whether or not they liked it. That’s more democratic,” Kalla said on Saturday.
Kalla also criticized Jokowi’s decision not to invite leader of the NasDem Party Surya Paloh to a meeting of political party leaders late last week, during which President Jokowi was said to have briefed them on a possible alliance for the 2024 presidential elections.