Prabowo vows to fight for all Indonesians, urges unity among political elites


  • World
  • Wednesday, 24 Apr 2024

FILE PHOTO: Indonesian Defense Minister and President-elect Prabowo Subianto talks with Japanese Defense Minister Minoru Kihara (not pictured) at the start of their talks at the Defense Ministry in Tokyo, Japan, April 3 2024. KIMIMASA MAYAMA/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

JAKARTA (Reuters) -Indonesian President-elect Prabowo Subianto vowed on Wednesday to fight for all Indonesians and he called for unity among political elites to take the country forward, as he seeks to boost his parliamentary clout before taking office in October.

Speaking at a ceremony where he was confirmed as the winner of the Feb. 14 election, Prabowo, who won by a huge margin, said he was talking to elites in the country and that it was vital for parties to work together for the common good.

Prabowo, who was tacitly backed by popular incumbent Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, is seeking to broaden his coalition in the new parliament and is in talks with parties who backed his election rivals.

"I will prove that I will fight for all Indonesians, including those who did not vote for me," Prabowo said.

"If Indonesia wants to survive, becoming a prosperous country, all elites must work together. If we dare to leave our differences aside, let's leave our feelings, let's find our love for the country, let's sacrifice together for our people."

The confirmation comes two days after the Constitutional Court rejected challenges from both losing candidates seeking a re-run of the presidential election and the disqualification of Prabowo and his running mate, ending all election disputes.

In his speech, Prabowo vowed to end poverty and corruption, adding he intends to bring improvement to all Indonesians.

He also said a free press was vital in Indonesia, describing it as "the absolute requirement for democracy".

COALITION TALKS

Defence Minister Prabowo's current alliance comprises 48% of seats in the parliament but his senior aides have said that he aims to expand his coalition to secure a majority of seats.

Since the election Prabowo has met with parties outside his coalition, including the chiefs of NasDem and the PKB, which supported the presidential bid of Anies Baswedan, one of the losing candidates and an ex-governor of the capital Jakarta.

Securing the support of either party would create a majority coalition for Prabowo, mirroring Jokowi's current governing coalition that comprises eight out of the nine parties in parliament.

PDIP, which supported the other losing candidate, Ganjar Pranowo, will remain the biggest party in parliament following the election.

Prabowo's Gerinda party, the third largest party in parliament following the election, said on Monday he intends to meet PDIP's chief Megawati Sukarnoputri.

PDIP said this week that Jokowi was no longer one of its members due to his support for Prabowo, which was widely interpreted as a move by the president to retain political influence and preserve his legacy after a decade at the helm.

(Reporting by Ananda Teresia; Editing by Martin Petty and Gareth Jones)

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