Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) said he would welcome any request from leaders of new political parties for a meeting with him at the State Palace.
"Any request for a meeting at the State Palace would be welcome. Only the time has to be arranged by the Minister for State Secretariat," Jokowi said here on Wednesday.
The president was answering questions by journalists about a recent visit to the Palace of Partai Solidaritas Indonesia (PSI) and Partai Persatuan Indonesia (Perindo), two new political parties to contest the 2019 legislative elections.
Jokowi said he had not met yet with two other new political parties Partai Garuda and Partai Berkarya as they have no request for a meeting.
The new political parties - Perindo, PSI, Partai Berkarya and Partai Garuda - would give the people more choices, Jokowi, who was accompanied by Transport Minister Budi Karya, and Jakarta Governor Anies Bawesdan said when inspecting progress in the construction of the Jakartas Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) project.
On March 1 , the president received a visit by PSI leaders including its general chairwoman Grace Natalie at the state Palace, and on March 5, Perindo leaders including its General Chairman Hary Tanoesoedibjo also paid a call on the president.
The meeting between PSI leaders and the president had caused a furor only because the party leaders said they received advises from the president and they openly indicated support for Jokowi, who seeks re-election when the country holds the next presidential election in 2019.
The critics mainly those belonging to the opposition parties blasted the president for using the state building for discussion of political issues not related to the state interest.
Others, however, came in the defense of the president and the party saying there was nothing special and unusual about the PSI leaders visiting the President at the State palace.
It was not the first time President Jokowi receiving a visit by leaders of political parties at the State Palace at a working time, Gunawan Witjaksana, a lecturer and chairman of the Communications Science Institute (STIKOM) in Semarang, said .
"There is nothing unusual in President maintaining communications including political communications with other stakeholders. The purpose is to develop friendly relations as well as to deal with something crucial and urgent such as in cooling down political tension," Gunawan said.
Talks between the president and leaders of political parties are also important to patch up rift in relations as a leftover of political rivalry from previous elections, he said.
Political communications especially with or initiated by the president concerning state affairs, state policy , etc. are all for the state interest, he said.
"Perhaps when Gerindra General Chairman Prabowo Subianto visited the President earlier, the topic of discussions could be state affairs and cooling down of political tension at that time.
General Chairwoman of the ruling party PDIP Magawati Sukarnoputri has also met with Jokowi before announcing the partys decision to support Jokowis reelection bid.
"Other than Jokowi and Megawati, no one knew precisely what they had discussed at the meeting. Why was it became a big blunder when PSI visited Jokowi," he said.
Founder of Study on Indonesian Public Opinions (Kedai Kopi) Hendri Satrio said the maneuver of PSI moving closer to the Palace was a blunder as both sides discussed issues other than state affairs.
Source: ANTARA News