Prabowo Subianto, left, and Joko Widodo sharing a laugh at the former's residence in Hambalang, Bogor, West Java, back in 2016. (Photo courtesy of the Cabinet Secretariat)

Jokowi Wants to Meet Prabowo as Soon as Possible

BY :YUSTINUS PAAT & CHRISTIAN LEE

MAY 24, 2019

Jakarta. The campaign team of newly re-elected president Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said he had already communicated with his rival Prabowo Subianto since election day on April 17. However, they are yet to sit down and talk.

"They have not had time to meet each other. Of course, we also understand that in Mr. Prabowo's camp, there are many people giving him advice and not all of them share the same point of view," Jokowi campaign team's deputy chairman Arsul Sani said on Thursday at the team's media center in Menteng, Central Jakarta.

Arsul, who is also the secretary general of the United Development Party (PPP), said Jokowi has let it be known that he wishes to meet Prabowo as soon as possible.

"Of course they will meet as fellow presidential candidates, in mutual respect of each other," he said.

Prabowo’s campaign team spokesman Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak said on Tuesday that if Jokowi wants to meet Prabowo, the latter may want to send a representative first.

He mentioned that Prabowo could be represented by either the team’s deputy chairman Priyo Budi Santoso, spokesman Andre Rosiade or the head of the team’s media center Ariseno Ridhwan.

Jokowi had earlier tried to send an envoy to meet with Prabowo shortly after election day.

Arsul said that as an incumbent and winner of this year’s election, Jokowi had been humble enough to initiate a meeting.

"Mr. Jokowi, as the incumbent president, showed his humbleness [by trying to initiate a meeting]. He is not arrogant, [for example] by not wanting to meet his rival just because he's the president," he said.

According to Arsul, Dahnil's statement was not appropriate. "We also want our friends in the Prabowo-Sandiaga campaign team to try to keep things calm with statements of respect for each other," he said.

Arsul said the Jokowi-Ma’ruf camp appreciates Vice President Jusuf Kalla's initiative to host a meeting with renowned political figures to cool things down following a heated presidential election and violent post-election clashes.

"Of course we are happy when Mr. JK [Jusuf Kalla], who is not only a vice president but also a national figure, plays an active role in building bridges [between rival politicians]. We will see what happens in the next one to two days," Arsul said.

Prabowo Met With Jusuf Kalla on Thursday

Arsul also confirmed that a meeting took place between Prabowo and Kalla on Thursday, although he does not know where they met.

"The meeting was initiated by our side. In a previous meeting with the secretary generals [of political parties in their coalition], Jokowi said he was ready to meet with Prabowo as soon as possible, and also with party elites from the Prabowo-Sandiaga coalition," Arsul said, as quoted by Detik.com.

Johnny G. Plate, another deputy chairman of the Jokowi-Ma'ruf campaign team, said Kalla went to the meeting with Prabowo because Jokowi had asked him to.

"Mr. JK, as vice president and advisor to the Jokowi-Ma'ruf campaign team and coalition, had already communicated with Mr. Prabowo at the request of Mr. Jokowi yesterday," Johnny said, as quoted by Liputan6.com.

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