Jakarta. Students took to the streets in several cities across the country on Monday to protest the rumored presidential term extension, despite earlier assurance from two-term President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo that he had no intention to seek reelection.
In Jakarta, the rally was originally planned to take place in front of the State Palace. The Indonesian Student Executive Board Alliance (BEM SI), however, decided to take the Monday protest to the House of Representatives.
A similar protest was held near regional legislative council buildings in cities in East Java, West Nusa Tenggara, and South Sumatra, among other places.
The central theme is to oppose a new amendment extending the number of presidential terms to more than two or any plan to postpone the 2024 election that will allow Jokowi to stay in office after his expired terms.
“We urge and call the people’s representatives to not betray the constitution by making amendments and firmly reject the postponement of the 2024 election or third term,” BEM SI wrote as one of its Monday rally demands on their Instagram account.
The young protesters urged the people's representatives to inform the president of their earlier demands, which the students said still remain unanswered to this day. The demands were an accumulation of the concerns that the students had voiced in the March 28 rally, as well as last year's Job Creation Law protest.
On March 28, the students protested against the election delay at the Arjuna Wijaya chariot statue in Central Jakarta. They also called for Jokowi to review the state capital law, stabilize the skyrocketing price of basic necessities, and launch an investigation against the so-called “cooking oil mafias”.
Jokowi recently reiterated that the election would take place as scheduled — shutting down rumors of a potential third term.
"I think it is already crystal clear. Everyone knows that the election will be held on February 14, 2024. We need to make this clear so there will not be any speculation that the government is trying to postpone the election, [and also to avoid] speculation of a third presidential term,” Jokowi said at a cabinet meeting on Sunday.
The ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) also said last month they wouldn’t support any attempt to amend the 1945 Constitution, which limits the number of presidential terms to two.