JAKARTA: A rift between Indonesian President Joko Widodo and the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) has widened, after his eldest son decided to stand as a vice-presidential running mate for a presidential candidate not backed by the party, say analysts.
Now, both sides are in a “mutual hostage situation”, where Mr Widodo, known popularly as Jokowi, and PDI-P, which is chaired by former president Megawati Soekarnoputri, cannot engage in open hostilities because they both need each other for political mileage for now, said one analyst.
“On the one hand, President Jokowi still needs PDI-P to maintain the stability of his government until the end of his term,” political analyst Yoes Kenawas from Atma Jaya University told CNA, adding how the president still needs its legislators’ backing to push for various programmes, with PDI-P being the biggest party in parliament.
Besides, if the government is unstable, it will hurt his reputation, which could affect his son’s chances at becoming a VP, said Mr Kenawas.
“And on the other hand, PDI-P will be very careful to attack President Jokowi because his approval rating is still very good,” said the analyst, as he pointed out how Jokowi has massive followers and loyal volunteers who will follow whatever he says or believes in.
He added that this prospect will make PDI-P hesitant to attack him openly to avoid damaging its chances at the presidential and legislative elections on Feb 14 next year.
The relationship between both sides has been deteriorating since as early as mid-2022 over their perceived differences in who to back as presidential candidate in the Feb 14 election, in part fueled by Mr Widodo’s efforts to build his own political dynasty and to protect his legacy.
The latest wedge being driven came when Defence Minister Subianto, 72, who is chairman of the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), picked Mr Widodo’s son Gibran Rakabuming Raka, 36, who is also mayor of Solo in Central Java, as his VP running mate.
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