Jokowi sends Prabowo’s former military senior as an envoy to diffuse tensions
Jokowi wanted to calm things down after Prabowo repeatedly declared victory and questioned the integrity of the election.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo, popularly known as “Jokowi”, has sent an envoy to try and speak to Prabowo Subianto, his erstwhile presidential election opponent.
According to The Jakarta Post, this is an attempt to diffuse tensions.
Prabowo’s former senior
The envoy, Luhut Pandjaitan, used to be Prabowo’s senior in the military.
In addition, Jakarta Globe reported that Prabowo was Luhut’s deputy while he served as the commander of Detachment 81, a counter-terrorism unit in the early 1980s.
The report also said that according to tradition, a junior must always respect a senior, which might have been why Luhut was chosen for the job.
Luhut is now the coordinating minister of maritime affairs, and is one of Widodo’s close aides who supported his re-election.
Had a good chat
Luhut confirmed on April 22 that he had talked to Prabowo, but only on the phone as Prabowo had apparently caught the flu.
Prabowo’s younger brother, Hashim Djojohadikusumo, who is also the deputy director of his campaign, confirmed with foreign media on Monday that Prabowo was not feeling well.
“Yes, we are friends. We had a good conversation. We had a laugh together and yes, we have set an appointment for a meeting,” Luhut told reporters.
He added that they had a “nostalgic chat about the past”.
Prabowo a “rational man” who thinks clearly
In addition, Luhut spoke highly of Prabowo, while not forgetting to slip in some advice for Prabowo in his remarks.
“Pak Prabowo is a good man… I know him to be a very rational man who can think clearly,” Luhut said. “So I just want to suggest that he not listen too much to those whose ideas are somewhat baseless.”
He added that he “truly” wants Prabowo to be “remembered as a leader who participated in strengthening democracy in Indonesia and one that respected the decisions of the General Elections Commission (KPU)”.
Declared victory multiple times
Prabowo had repeatedly declared victory based on data gathered by his team, despite quick count results pointing to a Jokowi win.
The KPU are calling for both candidates to refrain from doing so before official results are in.
Future challenge possible
Official results are expected to be available by May 22.
The Prabowo camp had also questioned the integrity of the election, saying that Widodo had used his incumbent status to influence the neutrality of the agencies involved.
Dewi Fortuna Anwar, chairman of the Jakarta-based Institute for Democracy and Human Rights told Bloomberg that he believes Prabowo will challenge the election outcome in court if he loses again.
Prabowo refused to concede defeat back in 2014, when he also ran against Widodo, who emerged as the victor.
He challenged the election result in court to no avail.
By declaring victory, analysts say Prabowo is either deluded, or that it is a tactic to possibly mobilise his supporters for large-scale rallies, or it could be to delegitimise the KPU.
Top image via Luhut Pandjaitan’s Facebook page