JAKARTADAILY.ID - Politicians in Indonesia, the world's third-largest democracy, are currently debating the idea of a third presidential term for Joko Widodo, better known as Jokowi.
The idea that Jokowi may need to retain his power after 2024 to maintain political stability and maintain economic recovery momentum amid Covid-19 pandemics, immediately raised controversy.
A number of politicians and even a cabinet member appeared to support it, but surprisingly the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), Jokowi's main political backer, disagreed with the idea.
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It was the visit of Airlangga Hartarto, the Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, who went to Siak in Pekanbaru, the capital city of Riau province, that raised the attention.
He was on duty as a minister when a group of smallholder palm oil farmers in Siak asked whether the minister could convey their message to the President. A representative from the palm oil farmers asked Airlangga, who is also the chairman of the Golkar party, about the possibility of a third presidential term for Jokowi.
Golkar party supported Jokowi-Ma'ruf Amin pair in 2019. The party is the second-largest political party in Indonesia after it secured more than 17 million votes, around a 12 percent share of total votes in 2019.
The party currently controls 85 out of 575 seats in the House of Representatives.
"We will accommodate the aspirations about the need for a sustainable policy. But for sure, this request is not in the domain of the Coordinating Minister. I only answer to matters related to palm oil (policy by the government)," Airlangga said on Thursday, February 24, 2022.
Airlangga though added that he understands that the question was asked to him as a politician, which he said, as a politician and the chairman of a political party, it is his duty to accommodate the people's aspiration.
This comment was seen as a U-turn of his stance, as in the previous month, he rejected the idea that Indonesia could possibly delay its scheduled 2024 presidential election.
"Presidential election has been scheduled in 2024. It is a 5-year cycle," said Golkar party chairman at the party's headquarter on Tuesday, January 11, 2022.
That time, it was Bahlil Lahadia, the Minister of Investment, who made a point that the business community aspires politicians to make efforts to delay the presidential election in the name of political stability and maintaining the economic recovery momentum.
"I will not respond, because the cycle is, based on the Law, it is held for every five years. Just check on our constitution," said Airlangga in his capacity as the Golkar party chairman.
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