Presidential candidates respond to Jokowi’s ‘K-drama politics’ remarks

President Jokowi had criticised politicians who have recently directed talks about February’s presidential election into unproductive conversations.


Presidential candidates Prabowo Subianto (left), Anies Baswedan (center) and Ganjar Pranowo pose for photographs at the Merdeka Palace in Central Jakarta, after attending a luncheon hosted by President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo, on Oct. 30, 2023. PHOTO: ANTARA/THE JAKARTA POST

November 9, 2023

JAKARTA  – Presidential candidates responded to President “Jokowi” Widodo’s statement comparing the lead-up to the presidential election to drakor (K-drama), with shows of “struggles of the heart” instead of the mind.

Jokowi has criticized politicians who have recently directed talks about February’s presidential election into unproductive conversations, saying that politics should be “a battle of ideas” instead of being a “drakor”.

Jokowi made the remarks during the Golkar Party’s anniversary celebration on Monday. Golkar is among the coalition of political parties supporting presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto, who is running with Jokowi’s son Gibran Rakabuming Raka as his vice presidential candidate.

The President, who is a member of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), did not elaborate on whom he directed his remark, but observers have said it was a response to earlier statements from PDI-P politician Hasto Kristiyanto who criticized the President’s decision to pair his son with Prabowo, Gerindra’s chairman.

Previously ineligible to run in the presidential election, Gibran, 36, can now run after a Constitutional Court ruling last month enabled people under 40 to run in presidential elections if they had or currently serve as elected officials.

Hasto said the PDI-P has loved Jokowi and his family “so much” but the party was “left behind” for an opportunity that potentially harmed the Constitution, referring to the Constitutional Court verdict.

Responding to Jokowi’s remarks, Ganjar Pranowo, the presidential candidate from the PDI-P, said he agreed with Jokowi’s statement about the presidential election being a battle of ideas.

“I agree about the battle of ideas. Everyone can give their opinion,” Ganjar said on Tuesday, adding that democracy should be used well. He did not directly address Gibran’s nomination.

The former Central Java governor also said that in a good democracy, everyone was equal.

“So, everyone behaves in the same way and there is a level playing field so that ideas can be delivered. Also, we should be honest,” said Ganjar.

Meanwhile, Anies Baswedan, the presidential candidate from the Coalition for Change, presented a neutral response.

“We have no comments. We’re good,” Anies said.

Jokowi shared his outlook on the political situation in Indonesia ahead of the presidential election next year in an opening speech for the Golkar’s 59th birthday celebration.

“I’ve seen too many dramas lately, too many drakor and [soap operas]. We must have battles of ideas, instead, [we see] struggles of the heart,” Jokowi said.

In his speech, Jokowi also requested all parties involved to have an equal viewpoint to create a “good democracy.”

“At the moment, we are in an election year, and I would like everyone to have an equal understanding that political competition is normal, that competing to win is also normal, but we have to show good democracy,” Jokowi said.

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