August 23, 2023
JAKARTA – Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) chair Megawati Soekarnoputri has shrugged off suggestions that the party’s leadership is panicking over President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s increasingly close alignment with Gerindra Party presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto.
Speaking at a party meeting in Yogyakarta, Megawati maintained that she remained on good terms with President Jokowi and blamed the media for driving a wedge between herself and the President.
“I read one newspaper on the way here this morning, and I believe this newspaper doesn’t like PDI-P that much, although I never did it any harm. The paper said that the PDI-P is panicking. Panicking over what?,” Megawati said, as quoted by Antara.
She added that she had asked PDI-P secretary general Hasto Kristiyanto to hold a big meeting with leaders of major political parties in the country to prove the critics wrong.
“Let’s have this meeting and invite leaders of all major political parties and see if we’re ready and not panicking,” Megawati said.
The 76-year-old politician also denied suggestions that she had strained ties with President Jokowi, whom the party nominated twice for the presidency, in 2014 and 2019.
“We’re being perceived as not being friends anymore. What are they trying to say?” Megawati said.
In recent weeks, the leadership of the PDI-P has issued statements criticizing a number of President Jokowi’s policies, including the food estate program, which was first championed by Prabowo.
The move came after four political parties in President Jokowi’s ruling coalition declared their support for Prabowo’s presidential bid.
On Monday, Megawati said President Jokowi should not take offense at her criticism.
“I told Pak Jokowi, ‘If I make strong statements, please don’t be angry. That’s how it should be,’” Megawati said.