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INDONESIA POLLS: Give Jokowi a chance, Indonesian president tells people

Publication Date : 07-04-2014


For the first time, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, whose term in office ends this October has made a public statement regarding one of his potential successors, Jakarta Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, giving the governor advice on how to convince voters that he is competent enough to run the country.

In the statement, broadcast on his YouTube channel on Sunday, Yudhoyono encouraged Jokowi to detail his plans for leading the country to assuage doubts over his competence.

Yudhoyono also called on voters to give Jokowi a chance to prove his capabilities and skills if elected president.

“I think it is best if people do not judge him [Jokowi] too quickly as being incapable,” Yudhoyono said.

“Meanwhile, Pak Jokowi should present his thoughts, solutions or policies that he will implement to solve the complex problems that the country is now facing. By giving details about his program and being willing to discuss it, people can judge the quality of Pak Jokowi and other presidential candidates, and then they can decide who is the right person to be my successor.”

Regarding the allegations from some quarters that Jokowi is merely a puppet controlled by the leadership of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), Yudhoyono said that Jokowi should prove otherwise.

“It will be a challenge for Pak Jokowi, or whoever is elected the next president, to not allow himself to be dictated by anyone, be they investors or foreign entities. I have never allowed anyone to interfere with what I had to do during my 10 years in office,” Yudhoyono said.

He added that Jokowi should only bow to the demands of the people.

“No one can control and dictate a president in making decisions regarding home and foreign affairs. This is a challenge, and I hope my successor will listen closely to the people,” he said.

In the YouTube statement, Yudhoyono also called on PDI-P chair Megawati Soekarnoputri to make a public statement in response to an accusation from Gerindra Party chief patron Prabowo Subianto that she had broken her promise on their so-called Batu Tulis pact.

The pact, which outlined Megawati’s commitment to support Prabowo’s presidential bid in the 2014 presidential election had the Megawati-Prabowo pair won the 2009 presidential election, was leaked to the public a day after the PDI-P announced Jokowi’s nomination on March 14.

Since then, Prabowo has repeatedly expressed in several interviews his anger over the broken promise.

Yudhoyono, however, was reluctant to address the rift directly, saying only: “I had better not comment on this, because the only one who can clarify this is Bu Mega.”

The President wrapped up his message by calling on the public to actively monitor the voting process on April 9.

On Saturday, after more than three weeks of campaigning, the 12 national political parties — plus three local parties in Aceh — contesting the legislative election wrapped up their outdoor campaigns. Between April 6 and April 8, there is a cooling-off period before Election Day on April 9.

Elections Supervisory Committee (Panwaslu) branches in all the country’s regencies have instructed political parties to remove all their campaign paraphernalia from outdoor and public spaces, and banned them from undertaking any further campaigning.

Meanwhile, outgoing Jakarta Military Command chief Maj. Gen. E. Hudawi Lubis said that more than 9,000 soldiers would be deployed in Jakarta to safeguard the legislative election.

“They will be deployed under the command of the Jakarta Police and will be stationed at several strategic areas around the capital,” Lubis said in a teleconference with Indonesian Army chief of staff Gen. Budiman on Sunday.


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