KNews.id – President Joko Widodo’s signal of support for presidential candidate and vice presidential candidate number 2, Prabowo Subianto-Gibran Rakabuming Raka, is getting stronger. After meeting one-on-one with Prabowo on Friday evening, President Jokowi exercised and had breakfast with the Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto who is also the General Chair Golkar Party, the party supporting Prabowo-Gibran, on Saturday (6/1/2024) morning.
President Jokowi had dinner with Prabowo at a restaurant in Menteng, Jakarta, on Friday (5/1/2024). The approximately one hour meeting took place only a few hours after AAGN Presidential Special Staff Coordinator Ari Dwipayana emphasized that ahead of 2024 Election, the President remained focused on working to run the government.
At that time, Ari also stated that there is a possibility that President Jokowi will not attend the anniversary of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) on January 10, 2024, or next Wednesday. This is because the President will be travelling abroad next week.
The meeting with Airlangga took place at the Bogor Botanical Gardens in the city of Bogor, West Java. In a video posted on the Instagram account of the Golkar Party, the President and Airlangga can be seen driving around the Bogor Botanical Gardens in a golf cart.
Encountered at Pakansari Stadium in Bogor on Saturday afternoon, Airlangga said that many things were discussed with the President. In addition to the economic growth target for 2024, they also discussed the 2024 Presidential Election. However, he did not elaborate on the specific presidential election topics discussed with the President.
The one-on-one meeting with Prabowo, which was then followed by Airlangga, further fueled speculation that Jokowi was providing support to one of the presidential and vice presidential candidates. Secretary General (Sekjen) of the Gerindra Party Ahmad Muzani said that the meeting not only showed Jokowi’s support for Prabowo, but also his hope for continuing development over the last 10 years.
“Why then is this considered as support from Pak Jokowi to Pak Prabowo? Because Pak Prabowo’s programs are programs that save the poor, strengthen the eradication of (people from) poverty, and help poor people. “So, the support and support from Pak Jokowi is mantep, madhep, karep for Pak Prabowo,” he said.
According to Muzani, Prabowo will definitely continue the ongoing programs of Jokowi’s government, including the village fund, direct cash assistance, and school operational assistance (BOS). In addition, Prabowo will also realize other programs, such as free lunch and milk, endowment fund for Islamic boarding schools, and fertilizer subsidies for farmers.
Political analyst Adi Prayitno believes that the meeting is a strong indication of Jokowi’s total support for Prabowo. “If this meeting is merely about discussing performances, it can be discussed in an official cabinet meeting and of course involve all ministers. Therefore, it should not be interpreted merely as a normal relationship, but as a power relation in the form of support for the 2024 presidential election,” he said.
According to Adi, the meeting was a deliberate effort to send a message to the public that Prabowo is the only one “approved” by Jokowi and fully supported by him, not Ganjar or Anies. Therefore, the discussion topics most likely included the presidential election, survey results, electability trends, and issues leading up to the debate to be held on Sunday, January 7th, 2024.
Not in line
The Chairman of the PDI-P’s Honorary Field DPP, Komarudin Watubun, stated that the meeting between President Jokowi and Prabowo is not in line with the call for neutrality to the state apparatus. This is because the President had previously gathered state officials, from the top brass of the TNI and the Police, to village heads, to convey a message that all civil state apparatus (ASN) should remain neutral in the 2024 Election.
“If the message has already been conveyed to the people and civil servants, the President must set an example and serve as a role model to those who carry out the state’s affairs,” said Komarudin.
The Chairman of the Central Executive Board of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), Mardani Ali Sera, also stated that a meeting between the President and ministers is a normal occurrence. However, given Prabowo’s status as a presidential candidate, it is also normal for the public to question the purpose of the meeting.
“This is not a good example of ethics. Especially (a meeting) at night, outside of working hours. People can speculate,” he said.
According to Mardani, the President should also maintain his dignity as the head of government and as the head of state. It is only right for the President to uphold ethics. As a leader, he must set an example for the people.
PDI-P Secretary General Hasto Kristiyanto reminded that Jokowi’s valuable legacy as president is to ensure that the 2024 elections are honest, fair and democratic. One way is to ensure that state administrators, including the TNI and Polri, act neutrally.
“The president is expected to remain neutral. This is the hope of the PDI Perjuangan party and the public,” Hasto said at the PDI-P headquarters in Jakarta on Saturday afternoon.
Hasto believes that the meeting between the President and his two ministers, Prabowo and Airlanggga, is reasonable as long as it is held to discuss the interests of the nation and state, and not for partisan interests. Therefore, the 2024 Election is expected to be a fair contest for all parties.
Meanwhile, previously, when asked about the purpose of the meeting between the President and Prabowo, Ari Dwipayana said he did not know what was discussed between them. “I don’t know what they talked about while having dinner. He said that the Indonesian cuisine at the restaurant was delicious,” said Ari.