Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan, who became the capital's top executive thanks in large part to the political patronage of Prabowo Subianto, has been in a fairly precarious position following the protests by Prabowo supporters and subsequent riots that engulfed Central Jakarta last week.
The governor has courted controversy with moves such as his decision to have the Jakarta administration pay for the medical bills of hundreds of people that were injured during the riots (including, presumably, the rioters) and allowing two members of his own development task force to work on Prabowo's Constitutional Court election fraud lawsuit.
Now, on top of that, Anies is facing questions about an old tweet of his from 2013 that seems extremely pertinent to the situation in Indonesia at the moment.
"The success of democracy is determined not by the winner but by the willingness of the losing parties to accept defeat."
It's unclear what Anies was referring to at the time – if indeed he was talking about a specific example or democracy in general. But its relevance to Indonesia right now is obvious to anybody aware of Prabowo's attempts to undermine the legitimacy of the 2019 presidential election with his unsubstantiated claims of election fraud, an effort that directly led to the deadly riots that took place in Jakarta last week.
Netizens uncovered the tweet over the weekend and gleefully pointed out Anies' hypocrisy, making the tweet go viral six years after it was first posted.
When reporters asked Anies about the tweet on Sunday, the governor did not deny tweeting it but chose not to remark on how it applied to Prabowo, saying he was referring to democracy more generally.
"All statements about democracy are formulas. Basic formulas. So that is the formula for the democratic process," Anies said on Sunday as quoted by Liputan 6.
Indeed, Governor Anies, who used to be a respected educator who headed up the Ministry of Education under President Joko Widodo (until he got fired), understands democracy well. It can't be successful when the losing parties refuse to accept their loss. And, as we could see last week in Jakarta, when the legitimacy of a democracy is attacked, it can cause real damage and real deaths.