President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo spent his Idul Fitri holiday in Yogyakarta last week and paid a visit to Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X, the governor of the special administrative region. (Antara Photo/Andreas Fitri Atmoko)

'We Can Meet in Yogya or on the MRT': Jokowi Longs for Prabowo Reconciliation


JUNE 14, 2019

Jakarta. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo does not seem to give up hope to reconcile with archrival Prabowo Subianto. 

While the latter is still disputing the result of the April election in the Constitutional Court, the president is working the back channels to bring Prabowo into the fold. 

Jokowi has promised ministerial positions to the former Army general's Great Indonesian Movement Party (Gerindra) and sent envoy after envoy to meet with Prabowo's key supporters.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla even managed to meet with Prabowo earlier this month, but it ended just shy of securing a face-to-face meeting between the two rivals. 

Several academics next proposed that Hamengkubuwono X, the sultan of Yogyakarta, invite both Prabowo and Jokowi to his palace to meet in a neutral setting. 

Jokowi appears enthusiastic about the prospect. 

"Yes, wherever we can meet, even while riding a horse," Jokowi said on Friday, as quoted by Antara news agency. He was referring to a meeting with Prabowo on the latter's ranch outside Jakarta after the 2014 election. 

"[Now] we can meet in Yogya, or we can meet while on board the MRT," Jokowi said, referring to one of his infrastructure development jewels, the $1.7 billion Jakarta Mass Rapid Transit. 

Jokowi said it was more important now to work together, especially with increasing instability in the global geopolitical and economic settings. 

"The most important thing is that we work together to advance this country, to build this country," the incumbent president said.

Prabowo has yet to respond to the meeting invitation.

But his tone has mellowed over the past few weeks, from fierce calls encouraging street protests to overturn the election result, to a calm order to supporters to practice restraint and obey the law.