Karina M. Tehusijarana, Jakarta – Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri has once again reasserted her dominance in the country's political sphere by snubbing two other prominent politicos: NasDem Party chairman Surya Paloh and Democratic Party executive Agus Harimurti, son of former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
Footage of Megawati refraining from shaking hands with both Agus and Surya during a House of Representatives swearing in ceremony on Tuesday has made the rounds on social media, with many commenting on the apparent tension between the politicians.
In the video, the former president – whose daughter Puan Maharani has been elected the new House speaker – is seen walking pass the two while shaking hands with a number of other politicians before taking her seat in the House plenary hall.
Agus stood up to greet Megawati when she passed in front of him, but she simply nodded at him. She then ignored the outstretched hand he offered her, at which he place his palms together in traditional greeting.
When she walked past Surya, Megawati appeared to look away. The tycoon and former Golkar Party politician then took his seat without acknowledging Megawati as she shook hands with the person next to Surya.
Tension between the Megawati and Surya became apparent shortly after President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo was officially declared the winner of the 2019 presidential election at the end of June.
In late July, Megawati met with Gerindra Party chairman Prabowo Subianto, apparently as a reconciliatory gesture after he lost the election to Jokowi. The next day, Surya met with Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan, whom many see as a political opponent of Jokowi, and said that NasDem might back Anies in the 2024 presidential election.
Although there is no apparent bad blood between Agus and Megawati, relations between Agus' father Yudhoyono and the PDI-P chairwoman have been strained since he ran against then-president Megawati in the 2004 presidential election. He was serving in her Cabinet as the coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs minister at the time.
This is not the first time Megawati has made an open display of her apparent power. During the PDI-P's national congress in August, she demanded that Jokowi, who was in attendance, give the party the largest number of ministerial positions in the upcoming Cabinet.