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Jokowi-Prabowo meeting is emblematic of Indonesian unity

Jokowi-Prabowo meeting is emblematic of Indonesian unity

President Joko Widodo and Chairman of Gerindra Party Prabowo Subianto hugged each other after gave a joint statement at the MRT Station in Senayan in jakarta on Saturday (13/7/2019). (ANTARA/Special)

A meeting between President-elect Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto, held on July 13, marked the first time ever between the duo following the election period.

Jokowi took his former challenger for a trip aboard a Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) train from the Lebak Bulus Station for lunch together at a restaurant in FX Sudirman, Senayan, South Jakarta.

"Dear my fellow Indonesians, my meeting with Mr Prabowo Subianto this morning was a meeting between friends, a meeting of brothers," Jokowi stated at the Senayan MRT Station, Jakarta, after the meeting.

Related news: Jokowi, Prabowo ride MRT train to go for lunch together

Jokowi noted that the meeting had been planned since long but kept getting delayed due to their busy schedules.

"(This meeting is) what we have actually planned for a long time, but Mr Prabowo is also busy, often going back and forth abroad. I too was busy with several items on my agenda of visits to several regions that led to the meeting being delayed," he explained.

"Thank God, this morning, we could meet and take a ride aboard the MRT because I know Mr Prabowo has never traveled by MRT," Jokowi remarked.

Related news: Jokowi vouches that meeting was one between friends

The meeting of the two figures was held at the MRT station on Saturday morning. They met at around 10 a.m. local time and shook hands. Before heading to the train platform, they hugged each other and waved out to the public.

Jokowi and Prabowo boarded the train for a ride, lasting some 15 minutes, to the Senayan MRT station adjacent to FX Mall, as they had been scheduled to have lunch together at one of the restaurants. During the meeting, Prabowo congratulated Jokowi as Indonesia’s president-elect for the 2019-2024 period.

"Some might mull over why I have not congratulated Mr Jokowi as president, but I, in fact, just wanted to congratulate him in person and face-to-face," Prabowo remarked while shaking hands with Jokowi and hugging him at the Senayan MRT Station.

Related news: Prabowo extends his congratulations to Jokowi as President

Prabowo and his running mate Sandiaga Uno had challenged Jokowi's re-election bid in April by rallying four political parties to support his run against Jokowi’s coalition of nine parties.

Jokowi pointed to the competition also being tough for supporters of both candidates. Hence, the current head of state harbors hopes of the meeting with Prabowo being able to reunite the nation that was divided by different political choices.

"I am immensely grateful for the arrangements, so we can meet with Mr Prabowo this morning, and we also hope that the supporters would follow suit, as we are united. There is no longer (presidential candidate) number 01 or number 02," Jokowi concluded.

Wearing similar white shirts, Prabowo admitted that the meeting, held on the country’s first MRT line that began operations in March, was Jokowi's idea.

"I have yet to take an MRT ride, so thank you, Mr President, for taking me. We are proud that Indonesia finally has the MRT that can cater to the interests of the people," Prabowo stated.

The meeting between Jokowi and Prabowo took place 15 days after the Constitutional Court had rejected the latter's lawsuit challenging his rival's victory in the April presidential election.

The General Elections Commission (KPU) named Jokowi the winner of the presidential election by securing 55.5 percent of the vote, or over 85 million ballots, while Prabowo received over 68 million votes, or 44.5 percent of the ballots. Prabowo then challenged the final results in the Constitutional Court, alleging massive fraud during the election. The court rejected Prabowo's claim and upheld Jokowi's victory.

The meeting held significance in reuniting the people, who had been divided based on their different political choices during the election. Many have eagerly looked forward to the Saturday meeting between Prabowo and Jokowi as a moment for reconciliation after the bitterly contested presidential election. They also lauded the reconciliation meeting between Jokowi and Prabowo.

Related news: Jusuf Kalla played major role in Widodo-Prabowo meeting: Gerinda

According to an analysis study through social media from Indonesia Indicator (I2), 56 thousand conversations centered around Jokowi, while Prabowo featured in 101,027. A plethora of emotions were mirrored in those conversations referring to Prabowo.

“This was caused by the talk on reconciliation is still an issue for Prabowo’s supporters on (Twitter's) timeline,” Director of Communication I2 Rustika Herlambang stated in Jakarta on Sunday.

Prior to the meeting, cabinet secretary and one of Jokowi’s political aides, Pramono Anung, had hinted at this meeting through his Twitter account.

“I hope today would serve as a reminder of a democratic process that has become more mature than ever,” he tweeted through his account @pramonoanung.

“Hopefully, this meeting will make Indonesia fair, stronger, and more advanced and prosperous #pertemuan #indonesia #AlFatihah,” he stated.

Bystanders at the same station as Jokowi and Prabowo on Saturday also voiced their opinions.

“They took an MRT ride, I saw them. Such a relieving view,” Alip, 21, a resident of Bogor, West Java, noted in response to being questioned at the Senayan area, South Jakarta.

Rori, 37, a citizen from Kebon Jeruk, West Jakarta, also praised the meeting to placate tensions after the election period.

“The election has gone by, so the political elites need to stop feuding. Let Jokowi do his duty as a president,” Rori stated while he along with his family hung out in Senayan.

In addition to the people’s reactions to the meeting between Jokowi and Prabowo, supporters of both camps, comprising millennials and youths, held their own event as a shout-out to Indonesian unity on Saturday evening.

The collaboration was represented by Jokowi’s and Prabowo’s millennial supporters called “KitaSatu” and “Gerakan Milenial Indonesia”, respectively. They held a forum named "Young Penting Indonesia" bearing the theme of “Future Leader Is Coming” at one of the malls in Kemang, South Jakarta.

The political reconciliation, showcased through the meeting between Jokowi and Prabowo on last Saturday, is expected to end the divide between people due to the election. Regardless of the political differences among people, it is now time to unite and work together to transform Indonesia into a more developed and prosperous nation. Related news: Jokowi-Prabowo meeting will help stimulate investment: Researcher
 

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