APSN Banner

Rift Within Jokowi's Volunteers

Tempo - September 12, 2022

Imam Hamdi (Koran Tempo), Jakarta – A number of Joko Widodo volunteer groups have different stands regarding the idea of an extended presidential term. Talks about Jokowi holding office for a third term are considered an illegitimate suggestion.

Not every volunteer group for Joko Widodo is in line with the idea of extending the presidential term. Jokowi Mania (Jorman), one of the President's volunteer lines since the 2014 presidential election, declared that they would fight against any movement to make an extended presidential term a reality.

Jorman chairperson, Immanuel Ebenezer, firmly said he would disband the organization if such discourse continues to be echoed. "And we will lead [the movement] at the streets to fight against such an illegitimacy," said Immanuel.

The discourse of extending Joko Widodo's term of office, which is commonly known as Jokowi for three terms, arose again. This time, it was raised in the People's Conference (Musra) which is a forum staged by Pro Jokowi (Projo) volunteers at the Arcamanik Sports Center, Bandung, West Java, on August 30. Jokowi also attended the gathering.

Results from the meeting stated that the votes backing the former Solo Mayor were the highest compared to potential votes for other likely presidential candidates. Other popular internal presidential candidates they voted for, apart from Jokowi, were Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno with 968 votes, followed by Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo in third with 921 votes. Three other candidates from the people's conference were Gerindra Party chairman Prabowo Subianto, Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan, and West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil.

In the forum, Jokowi expressed his appreciation for his supporters who he claimed had listened to what the people aspire to, which include talks about extending his presidential term. "This is the people's forum. People are allowed to voice their views right? It shouldn't be a problem if someone speaks of three terms. That is just a discourse. Anyone is allowed to state their opinion," said the President. However, he asserted his views to abide by the constitution that limits a president's term. "Once again, I will always abide by the constitution and the people's will."

Immanuel Ebenezer hopes Jokowi would show assertiveness in putting an end to such an idea and encouraging his subordinates to no longer campaign for Jokowi's third term extension. As a volunteer who backed the President, Immanuel said, Jorman does not intend to carry the political sin to future generations if it is forced to come to fruition.

He asserted that the constitution has limited a president's term in office to two terms, which is mentioned in Article 7 of the 1945 Constitution. "This is a principle that we do not want to violate, and that a president's term must be limited."

Another of Jokowi's volunteer bases, Merah Putih Solidarity, has echoed similar views. The chairperson, Silfester Matutina, expressed disagreement against the presidential term extension. "This country is still facing crises. People are still struggling. Why need to act out such practical politics?" he said.

Silfester acknowledged the existence of some Jokowi volunteers who crave on keeping the discourse alive. "Instead of [pushing for] a three presidential term, we actually hope the current government coalition is solid enough to produce a presidential candidate that fits what the people want," he added.

He argued that the internal coalition within the government is currently strong enough. In order to win the 2024 general election, he explained, President Jokowi just needs to strengthen the already established coalition to prevent any disunity that is currently showing.

President Jokowi, he noted, only needs to calculate how to distribute even shares for positions such as presidential and vice presidential candidates and state ministers to political parties in the coalition, "Instead of a rift, he needs only to distribute positions for state ministers," Silfester argued.

The Merah Putih Solidarity, he explained, has consolidated with a number of party leaders to reject the idea of Jokowi's three-term. According to Silfester, solidifying the current government coalition ranks is better than forcing the idea of adding another presidential term. "We have built a commitment so that this discourse will end immediately," said the person in charge of a movement to stay true to the constitution touted 'Gerakan Setia Tegak Lurus 2024 Ikut Komando Jokowi' or the movement to stay faithful with 2024 under Jokowi's command.

A similar stand was voiced by the Jokowi National Secretariate (Seknas Jokowi), where the chairperson Rambun Tjajo expressed urgency to put an end to the idea that has been voiced by other Jokowi volunteers. He said that Seknas believes a volunteer group must abide by the constitution that limits a president's term to two terms. "It does not have a legal basis if it is unconstitutional," he said.

Rambun said that instead of arguing about the controversial discourse on the presidential extension term, Jokowi's volunteers should create more productive activities. Especially in current times where the government is focused on solving problems faced by the Indonesian population caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. "We refuse to join that debate as it is not productive and useless."

Projo chairperson Budie Arie Setiadi acknowledged the fact that the constitution limits a president's time in office to two terms. However, he believes the support currently shown for Jokowi to run again as a presidential candidate is not prohibited. He claimed that the discourse for the extended presidential term is a product of listening to what the general population aspires to. "Support for Jokowi's third term can be heard everywhere," said Budie, whom Jokowi has lined up to become the Deputy Minister of Village, Development of Disadvantaged Regions, and Transmigration.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1633163/rift-within-jokowis-volunteer