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SBY open to meeting Megawati anytime: Aide

Jakarta Globe - May 8, 2024

Yustinus Patris Paat, Heru Andriyanto, Jakarta – Former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, commonly known as SBY, is prepared to meet his predecessor Megawati Soekarnoputri at a mutually convenient time and place, according to an aide on Tuesday.

These statements emerged amid reports suggesting that President-elect Prabowo Subianto intends to establish an exclusive club of living former presidents to discuss pressing national issues and challenges.

"For the benefit of the people and the nation, Mr. SBY has no reservations about sitting down with anyone, particularly Madame Megawati, who held the presidency before him," said Kamhar Lakumani, an executive of the Democratic Party founded by SBY.

He said the Democratic Party fully endorses Prabowo's proposal to form the presidential club, allowing former presidents to offer insights and experiences to the incumbent president on crucial matters.

"Prabowo has repeatedly proposed this concept with the belief that the nation's esteemed leaders, who have been entrusted with the presidency by the people, can continue contributing to the country and share their experiences with the sitting president, enabling the formulation of decisive and impactful policies," Kamhar explained.

"This would have a positive impact on the public, demonstrating that former leaders remain harmonious and united despite their political differences," he added.

However, reconciling SBY and Megawati may prove challenging due to long-standing rivalries dating back more than two decades.

SBY resigned abruptly from Megawati's cabinet to contest the country's first-ever direct presidential election in 2004, defeating his former boss. He was reelected five years later, with Megawati herself becoming one of the contenders.

Throughout SBY's decade-long presidency, Megawati and her Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) served as an opposition to the government.

Following the victory of PDI-P's presidential nominee Joko "Jokowi" Widodo in the 2014 presidential election, the Democratic Party assumed the role of an opposition party. This dynamic shifted recently when SBY's son, Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, was appointed as a cabinet minister by Jokowi.

Moreover, the Democratic Party supported the presidential candidacy of Prabowo, who appointed President Jokowi's son, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, as his running mate last October.

These developments have widened the gap between Jokowi and Megawati, rendering Prabowo's presidential club concept even more elusive.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/sby-open-to-meeting-megawati-anytime-aid