IDNAround – President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has told leaders of leading media organizations that he wants to make sure that the 2024 elections result in a successor who will consistently maintain the pace of the development programs inherited from his administration.
The president said Indonesia is making major progress in infrastructure development and increasingly gaining respect in the regional and global geopolitical landscapes, according to a participant in the closed-door meeting held at the State Palace in Jakarta on Monday.
Jokowi mentioned “intervention” related to the political succession next year at least seven times during the meeting, said Apreyvita Wulansari, the news director of B-Universe Media Holdings.
“He said several times why he has a concern about national interests. He wants consistent development programs and said that Indonesia can’t afford another setback now after the country wins the trust of the global community,” Apreyvita said of the president.
During the meeting, the president said that Indonesia has successfully concluded the presidency of the G20 — the group of the world’s 20 biggest economies — and currently chairs the ASEAN.
At the G7 Summit in Hiroshima earlier this month, Jokowi was invited to deliver his views on the current global economic and security situations.
“It proves that Indonesia has power not only in Asia but also in the world. In my opinion, that was the point President Jokowi wanted to illustrate with the word ‘intervention’ or when he said ‘I will do anything for the country’,” Apreyvita said.
While it’s very common for a sitting president in a democratic country to campaign for a candidate of his choice, the law in Indonesia requires all civil servants to remain neutral in the elections.
Several media companies have run headlines stating that Jokowi won’t be neutral in 2024. Critics said the president could weaponize state agencies against political opponents, prompting the palace to issue a clarification.
“The president expects that all contestants in the elections can compete freely and fairly. Accordingly, the president will maintain the neutrality of the Indonesian Military, the National Police, and civil servants,” Bey Machmudin, the press secretary of the president’s office, said in a statement.
It’s also the interest of the president that future leaders will consistently continue “strategic policies” adopted by the current government such as the construction of the new national capital Nusantara, the transition to clean energy, and downstream industry, Bey said.
However, the president will accept and honor whoever wins the 2024 elections to ensure a peaceful transfer of power, the statement reads.