Prabowo Subianto, a statesman who places the people’s interests above his own

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Igor Dirgantara Lecturer in the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences of Jayabaya University, Director of Survey & Polling Indonesia (SPIN)

IO, Jakarta – The series of meetings held by Prabowo Subianto with Jokowi, Megawati, and political party chairmen shows his great heart. It is a proof of his commitment to the state and nation, to putting their interests above his own. Prabowo Subianto is a true patriot who understands the true meaning of the nation’s unity and integrity. For him, the political contests are over, and now it is time for us to prioritize the interests of the state and nation. “Ready to win and ready to lose” is not a mere empty slogan for the former general with a large amount of influence and large numbers of followers. After the 2019 Presidential Elections, he made various efforts to restore harmony and reunite the nation for the sake of Indonesia’s future. The harsh clash between political actions and aspirations both in real life and virtual life is ended by Prabowo Subianto’s tenderness and acceptance of fate.

Prabowo: The Most Influential National Figure
No other former general has as much charisma and as many loyal followers as Prabowo Subianto. In fact, he is the only person who founded a political party whose vote increases from election to election (the Great Indonesia Movement (Gerakan Indonesia Raya – “Gerindra”) Party). In fact, Gerindra became the runner-up party in the 2019 Legislative Elections, defeating the Democrat party founded by former general Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (“SBY”) who served as President for 10 years (2004-2014). Another former general who also established and controlled a political party (People’s Conscience (Hati Nurani Rakyat – “Hanura”) Party), Wiranto had even less than 4% of votes required to enter the Parliament in the 2019 Legislative Elections. It is undeniable that Gerindra’s votes continue to rise, because Prabowo Subianto as its head figure consistently holds the Indonesian values of independence, sovereignty, justice, and prosperity – a dream of a united Indonesia from Sabang to Merauke, one that is based on the idea of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, “Unity in Diversity,” as expressed in the Constitution of 1945 – an Indonesia that stands strongly and fights for its national interest.

Prabowo’s political maneuvers and socializing after the 2019 events further highlight his capacity as a statesman. Only Prabowo – not Megawati, not Surya Paloh, not Muhaimin Iskandar, and not even Jokowi – performed political socializing to mend the weak bridges that were ruptured badly during the two electoral periods. According to political ethics, it is the winner of elections who should take the initiative for such an effort, not the defeated one. Prabowo even accepts recriminations from his former supporters, even if he is considered to be a “traitor” by them. We can predict that if Prabowo has refused to reconcile, in the future Indonesian citizens will remain separated between “cebong” (“tadpoles,” nickname of Jokowi’s supporters) in their pools and “kampret” (“fruit bats,” nickname of Prabowo’s supporters) on land. Prabowo is fully aware of the militancy in the souls of his loyal followers, and what it would mean if he adamantly shows non-cooperation with the authorities. This is his generosity and greatness.

The Palace Needs Prabowo
It is a political reality that the Palace needs Prabowo, or at least that they need each other. Speaking snidely of Prabowo Subianto is not a luxury; it is a show of pitiable poverty of the soul. There is nothing new in the hate speech leveled against him – like a week-old roll cake being reheated every day even though it has gone bad already. Prabowo’s detractors either say that he is a supporter of khilafah government, or a bloodthirsty animal hungry for power. This is not true: Prabowo is loyal to the democratic way. He is ready to win or lose, no matter what he accepts. Everything he does is for the sake of the sovereignty of the NKRI and the Red and White, not mere political pragmatism.

The political calculations after the 2019 Elections are more concerning than those of the previous elections, which did not have the sharp segregation denoted by the terms “cebong” and “kampret.” In his final term, Jokowi or the Palace needs Prabowo’s support more than ever. There are five reasons for this:

First, in the 2019 Elections, more than 45% of Indonesian citizens voted for Prabowo (or at least, did not vote for Jokowi). Right now, the Jokowi-Amin faction controls People’s Consultative Assembly (Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat – “MPR”), the House of Representatives (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat – “DPR”), and the Regional Representative Council (Dewan Perwakilan Daerah – “DPD”). We may hypothesize that Jokowi needs balancing forces within his second-term cabinet, not outside the Government.

Second, Indonesia’s economic problems result from the negative impact of a sickly global economy. Prabowo has the best programs and concepts to encourage the economy to grow into double digits. He explained them confidently when meeting Jokowi at the Presidential Palace. The “Prabowonomics” concept focuses on investments in economic infrastructure, especially in poor rural areas and in food & energy, security & defense. Prabowo can execute the concept if he participates in the Government to realize his promises during the 2019 electoral campaign.

Prabowo has been performing checks and balances for ten years, i.e. since the birth of Gerindra party and its participation in the elections in 2009. Repositioning is not prohibited in politics: for Prabowo, being inside or outside the Government is equally viable, as long as it is done for the interest of the people and nation of Indonesia. If Prabowo had won the election, we can be sure that the opposing faction would also be included in the ring of power. Prabowo stated this in his State Address titled “Indonesia Wins” during his campaign.

Third, “tactical politics.” In the future, the issue will no longer be whether one is pro or anti Jokowi, but on how to ensure that Jokowi’s final five years can be filled with progress in the political and economic development of Indonesia.

Fourth, “strategic politics” relating to political sustainability when Jokowi steps down in 2024. For the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (Partai Demokrasi Indonesia Perjuangan – “PDIP”) as the winner of both the 2014 and 2019 Legislative Elections, political constellation can change drastically in the fourth year of Jokowi’s final term. All political parties will race toward the 2024 Elections. The stability and continuity of political and development is an important reason for encouraging the amendment of the Constitution and reviving the Broad Outlines of State Policy (Garis-Garis Besar Haluan Negara – “GBHN”), even at a limited level. In 2024, the position of political party general chairmen will be highly strategic. However, the political pendulum is expected to remain in the hands of Megawati and Prabowo Subianto. The prediction of reunification between PDIP and Gerindra is not an impossible one.

Fifth, the change of development focus from infrastructure in the first term to HR in the second term is similar to how people play sports like soccer: “Changes in game strategy demand change in the player lineup as well.” This is where Prabowo’s participation and support is needed.

Positive Public Perception of Prabowo
Perception of Prabowo’s charisma is shown in the results of Survey & Polling Indonesia (“SPIN”)’s qualitative survey on Prabowo supporters in both the 2014 and 2019 Elections. It is true that some of his primary supporters are disappointed with the possible entrance of Gerindra into the Government. However, they are in the minority, not the majority. In reality, Prabowo supporters can be divided into two parts.

First, the minority who are pro-Prabowo because they are anti-Jokowi, no matter what. This group “takes everything for granted.” Second, the majority who do not support Jokowi because they feel that Prabowo has better programs and policies. The majority supporter reflects the views of both those who support Prabowo and those who are against him, i.e. that they sympathize with Prabowo for his attitude and actions after the elections.

As time goes on, the majority of citizens will be able to accept that political parties in Indonesia’s presidential system compete fiercely only during the Elections. When the elections are over, the citizen support should reset. In other words, there is more positive sentiment for Prabowo than the negative, whether from supporters and non-supporters. Prabowo is praised because he understands when to fight and when to retreat, and to reunite. Therefore, Prabowo’s likeability in the public eye has increased, not decreased. Gerindra will remain stable during the elections even though Prabowo approaches the Government.

Prabowo Subianto is considered to be a statesman who puts the people’s interest above his own. If you cannot believe this, it would be the same as you did not believe that Prabowo was willing to meet up with his rival on an MRT recently, or that Sandiaga Uno has returned to Gerindra. All this can happen because of Prabowo Subianto’s charisma as a leader and patriot of the nation who really love Indonesia. His attitude clearly shows the importance of reconciliation for the sake of our Great Indonesia.

A true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him. That is Prabowo Subianto.