Jakarta – Political jockeying over seats in President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's next Cabinet seemed to have reached new heights on Friday, with Jokowi welcoming Gerindra Party chairman Prabowo Subianto – his opponent in the April election – for a discussion over the possibility of welcoming the party into the government coalition.
Jokowi held talks with Prabowo at the State Palace in Jakarta on Friday afternoon, in a meeting the Gerindra Party patron said had been initiated by the President himself.
The two discussed various topics, including global economic conditions, the President's plan to move Indonesia's capital from Jakarta to East Kalimantan, as well as the chance for Gerindra to join the government's coalition, Jokowi said after the meeting.
"It is not yet final, but we have discussed a lot about the possibility of welcoming the Gerindra Party into our coalition," Jokowi said on Friday.
When asked whether Gerindra had proposed names of its members who had the potential to secure ministerial posts in Jokowi's Cabinet, the President maintained that nothing had been finalized during the talk. "We will announce it when the decision is final," he said.
Speaking after Jokowi, Prabowo expressed his party's readiness to contribute to assisting Jokowi's administration. "We will offer optimistic suggestions; we are optimistic that Indonesia can realize double-digit [economic] growth," he said.
Should Gerindra fail to obtain seats in Jokowi's second-term Cabinet, Prabowo said the party would remain "loyal" as a balancing power to maintain checks and balances in the government.
The meeting on Friday came only a day after Jokowi welcomed Democratic Party patron and former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the Palace, during which the two also talked about a possible place for the Dems in Jokowi's upcoming Cabinet.
In April's election, the Democratic Party was in the coalition supporting Prabowo's presidential bid, alongside Gerindra, the National Mandate Party (PAN) and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS).
Of the four parties supporting the former general, only the PKS has so far maintained a firm stance of remaining outside Jokowi's coalition. PAN, however, has reportedly yet to be engaged by Jokowi to discuss joining the government.
Gerindra previously, proposed three of its members for Cabinet posts, namely deputy chairmen Edhy Prabowo and Fadli Zon, as well as Sandiaga Uno, Prabowo's running mate in the 2019 presidential race against Jokowi.
Democratic Party executives, meanwhile, appear to be endorsing Yudhoyono's eldest son Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, now the party's deputy chairman, as one of its most qualified members for the new Cabinet should Jokowi agree to include the party in his ruling coalition.
Jokowi and 2019 presidential election running mate Ma'ruf Amin are slated to be sworn in as president and vice president, respectively, on Oct. 20. The President is expected to announce the lineup of his new Cabinet sometime after the inauguration. (afr)