Yustinus Paat, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo in a humorous manner offered an apology to Prabowo Subianto on Monday for defeating him in the last two presidential elections.
Both men met as guests at an event to celebrate the 8th anniversary of the United Indonesia Party (Perindo) in Jakarta.
Jokowi's remarks initially came as a response to Perindo Chairman Hary Tanoesoedibjo's opening speech in which he described the president as a successful politician who has never lost an election.
"I won the mayoral election in Solo twice, and then I moved to Jakarta for the gubernatorial election and also won," Jokowi told the audience.
"Then came the presidential election which I also emerged victorious. My apology to Mr. Prabowo," the president said, sending the audience to laughter.
But Jokowi was quick to console his former opponent: "Maybe your turn comes after this."
Prabowo, who was appointed by Jokowi as the defense minister shortly after the 2019 presidential election, has publicly announced his aspiration for the 2024 presidential election which could be his third try in a row.
But his popularity has been outpaced by new rising star Ganjar Pranowo, who like Jokowi is a politician of the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).
The Central Java governor has been the frontrunner in nearly all major polls in recent months ahead of Prabowo and former Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan.
Jokowi has so far refrained from endorsing any candidate, including Prabowo who on many occasions praised his leadership knowing that the populist president could be a great help in attracting voters.