Jakarta. Agung Laksono, chairman of Golkar Party's board of experts, said the long-awaited meeting between President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and his predecessor, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, on Thursday (09/03) might cool political tensions following the first round of the Jakarta gubernatorial elections.
The meeting was also crucial, according to Agung, as a show of support from a former president for a current head of state, a show of strength for the nation's democratic institutions.
"It was a positive step that will hopefully ease political tensions among the nation's major political parties," he said in Jakarta on Friday.
Agung observed that the talks between Jokowi and Yudhoyono may ultimately strengthen Indonesia's political unity as the two leaders' differing positions on controversial political issues did not obstruct the possibility for discussions.
"Varied perspectives are allowed. However, the public will still want to see the nation's leaders sit down together peacefully," Agung said.
Golkar managing chairman Nurdin Halid also expressed his appreciation for the meeting between Jokowi and Yudhoyono. Similar to Agung, he said the meeting was a positive step in relieving political tensions in Jakarta.
"We have to show appreciation to Jokowi for showing his willingness to meet [with Yudhoyono] in a friendly setting. This gesture has the potential to calm political tensions gripping our nation," Nurdin said.
However, both Jokowi and Yudhoyono declined to discuss the specifics of their talks regarding the second round of the gubernatorial election, which will take place on April 19.
Incumbent Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama was charged with blasphemy late last year, a move many political analysts see as a calculated political maneuver leading up to the city's gubernatorial election.
Ahok and his running mate, Djarot Saiful Hidayat, won 43 percent of the vote in the first round of the election.
The meeting between the two leaders at Merdeka Palace in Central Jakarta on Thursday was the first in more than two years, signaling a potential thaw in icy relations between Yudhoyono's Democratic Party and Jokowi's ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).