JAKARTA (AFP) – The winner and runner-up in Indonesia’s presidential election which sparked deadly riots in the capital called for reconciliation yesterday, in their first meeting since the vote.
It comes two weeks after the defeated Prabowo Subianto lost a court challenge to overturn President Joko Widodo’s victory in the April election.
Yesterday, the former general and the country’s re-elected leader rode the newly-inaugurated mass rapid transit (MRT) system together in Jakarta.
“Some people asked why Prabowo has not congratulated Jokowi, well I do have manners and I wanted to congratulate him in person,” Subianto said, standing next to the President.
“Being a President is about serving people, the problems he will have to face are enormous and I am ready to help,” he added.
Widodo said he initiated a meeting with his two-time presidential challenger on an MRT train because he knew Subianto had never used the new system.
“I am grateful for this arrangement so I can meet Prabowo Subianto, I hope our supporters will follow suit because we are all fellow countrymen,” the 58-year-old said.
“Let’s unite as a nation because global competition is getting tighter and we need to stay together to develop our country,” he added.
The general election commission declared Widodo the winner with 55.5 per cent of votes, against Subianto’s 44.5 per cent.
In May, peaceful protests against the official result by Subianto supporters erupted into two nights of street battles between police and rioters, leaving nine people dead and hundreds injured in the capital of the world’s third-biggest democracy.
The constitutional court last month rejected Subianto’s claims of widespread rigging and voter fraud. He lost a similar court battle in 2014 when Widodo won the presidential election for the first time.
Widodo and his vice-presidential running mate Ma’ruf Amin are due to be inaugurated later this year.