Jakarta – In a speech to mark the 50th anniversary of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri paid tribute to several women leaders, including Queen Elizabeth II.
Late in the second hour of her meandering address before hundreds of party members who had gathered Tuesday at Jakarta International Expo in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta, Megawati said the late queen had been a good leader to the British people for taking a maternal role.
"She [had] a protective role and was good at that. Now that she's gone, with the new king, people have started to question the role of the monarchy," said the 75-year-old politician.
The PDI-P matriarch went on to note the achievements of other female politicians, stressing that women could achieve great things if given the same chance as men.
"The list is long, from Margaret Thatcher to Angela Merkel and to [European Central Bank President] Christine Lagarde. In history, we know of people like Cleopatra," she said to applause from the audience.
VIP attendees at the event included President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, who is a PDI-P member, and a number of other senior government officials, such as Vice President Ma'ruf Amin, Coordinating Legal, Political and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud M.D. and Foreign Minister Retno L.P. Marsudi.
Megawati also recounted how she had pushed for Retno to become the country's first female foreign minister.
"Not only that, she is well-qualified to do the job, she can speak very fluent English," said Megawati, who had criticized Indonesia's penchant for using English in daily conversation earlier in her speech.