May 24, 2023
JAKARTA – The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) has dismissed, once again, speculations of growing unease between its matriarch Megawati Soekarnoputri and President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo after a growing contingent of the President’s loyal supporter groups threw their support behind Gerindra Party-backed presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto.
PDI-P secretary-general Hasto Kristiyanto said such an assumption was overblown and that Megawati and Jokowi had cultivated a stronger bond akin to a familial relationship over the years.
“That’s an exaggerated interpretation. The relationship between President Jokowi and Ibu Megawati has reached a level in which Pak Jokowi himself looks up to Ibu Megawati as his own mother,” Hasto said on Monday.
“[It’s] a relationship that has matured since he became [Surakarta] mayor, [Jakarta] governor and then became the [country’s] president for two terms. It’s a very deep bond,” he said.
Hasto stressed that the party chairwoman and Jokowi, who is a member of the PDI-P, still periodically engaged in “dialogues at various places that offered space for contemplation” despite outside maneuvering trying to sow seeds of division between the two figures.
“Such political dynamics have occurred since 2015, but it has been proven that with the resilience fostered by the two leaders in their relationship, [the two] were able to dodge various political scenarios aimed at dividing them,” he said.
Read also: Gibran-Prabowo brouhaha signals PDI-P unease with Jokowi
Surakarta Mayor Gibran Rakabuming Raka, the eldest son of Jokowi, was summoned on Monday to the PDI-P headquarters in the capital to clarify his meeting last week with Gerindra-backed presidential candidate Prabowo, which was surprisingly followed with a declaration of support for the defense minister by several Jokowi-Gibran supporter groups.
The event has led political analysts to speculate that Gibran’s move to receive Prabowo and to allow his supporters to pledge their support for Prabowo was reflective of his father’s political preference after the PDI-P nominated its own politician and Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo as its candidate for the 2024 presidential election.
The ruling party exempted Gibran from sanction over the controversy, opting to give the President’s eldest son “ample advice” to beware of political maneuvers coming at him seeking to leverage their political interests ahead of the upcoming election.
“I understand very well that apart from him being a young cadre, it is our duty to give him advice […] I told him that he now is like sugar being swarmed around by ants coming from everywhere. [He] needs to make sure which ants are good and which are bad,” PDI-P honorary council chairman Komarudin Watubun said.
Read also: Gibran summoned by PDI-P central board following meeting with Prabowo
The party also took a swipe at outsiders who brought their “political interests” into Surakarta, Central Java, a longstanding stronghold of the PDI-P, stressing that party cadres, including Gibran, would not take part in such maneuvers.
“This [receiving guests] is Mas Gibran’s capacity as Surakarta Mayor but it cannot be forgotten that he is also the son of President Jokowi. Thus, many will try to use [him] as a way to leverage their political interests. When I told [Megawati] this, [she] understood such political dynamics,” Hasto said.
“[Considering] recent events, we have discussed [and decided] that later if there are guests [coming to Surakarta], they will be received at an office where the regional head is in charge […]. So that everything is related to the [affairs of] the region,” Hasto added.