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Jokowi’s admission of political interference in 2024 election sparks controversy and impeachment concerns

JAKARTA, INDONESIA — President Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, has recently acknowledged his involvement in political affairs leading up to the 2024 Election.

His statement was made during a meeting with editors-in-chief and content creators at the State Palace on 29 May 2023.

The term “cawe-cawe” during his statements refers to a Javanese expression. “Cawe-cawe” is often used colloquially in Javanese culture and can be loosely translated to mean “intervening” or “getting involved.”

It implies taking action or participating in an active manner. In the context of Jokowi’s statements, “cawe-cawe” represents his acknowledgement of his own political interference or involvement in the affairs leading up to the 2024 Election, which will be held on 15 February 2024.

During the meeting, Jokowi defended his political interference, referring to it as a legitimate action. Senior journalist Karni Ilyas, who was present at the meeting, stated that Jokowi said, “cawe-cawe does not violate the law,” emphasizing the President’s perspective on the matter.

In subsequent discussions, Jokowi clarified the intention behind his interference. Yogi Nugraha, Deputy Chief Editor of Kompas TV, who also attended the meeting, revealed that Jokowi mentioned the term “cawe-cawe” more than seven times.

According to Yogi, the President explained that his involvement was driven by national interests, the need to maintain the demographic bonus, and the significance of the leaders in 2024, 2029, and 2034 in realizing a 13-year plan.

Furthermore, Jokowi emphasized that his political intervention was aimed at ensuring the smooth running of the 2024 presidential election without any disruptions that could endanger the country. He believed it was his moral responsibility as the President during the transition of national leadership in 2024.

In a press conference at the opening of the PDIP National Working Meeting III in South Jakarta on 6 June 2023, President Jokowi expressed his commitment to maintaining stability during the simultaneous national leadership and ensuring a successful presidential election.

He asserted, “We have to ensure that the presidential election runs smoothly without any disruptions that could jeopardize the country.”

Jokowi acknowledged that he couldn’t remain silent when the political contestation in the upcoming election had the potential for negative consequences. His intervention was driven by the desire to protect the nation from potential harm and maintain stability.

Jokowi also provided clarification regarding his political interference when he met with the ranks of the Islamic Student Association Alumni Corps (KAHMI) at the Presidential Palace on 5 June 2023.

Ahmad Doli Kurnia, the KAHMI National Assembly Presidium Coordinator, reported that Jokowi wanted to convey to future successors or presidents and vice presidents the importance of perceiving and addressing the challenging reality faced by the nation. Jokowi recognized that the political process involved political party leaders, with whom he was not directly affiliated.

Doli highlighted that Indonesia was currently at a crucial moment to achieve extraordinary progress, given the nation’s abundant resources. He emphasised the importance of collective involvement from all parties, including the President, to deliver messages for the benefit and progress of the nation.

Jokowi’s statement sparked various responses from politicians, observers, and the general public.

Constitutional law expert Feri Amsari stated that as the sitting President, Jokowi has indirectly violated regulations by using his position and state facilities to support a particular presidential candidate.

According to Article 304 of Law No. 4/2017, state officials, including the President, are prohibited from utilising state facilities during election campaigns.

State facilities encompass various resources financed by the state or regional budget, including official vehicles, office buildings, official houses, and telecommunications equipment. The use of such facilities for campaigning purposes goes against the principles of fairness and impartiality. The regulations aim to prevent the misuse of state resources and ensure a level playing field for all candidates.

Article 7A of the 1945 Constitution outlines the grounds for the dismissal of the President, including violations of the law, such as treason, corruption, bribery, or other serious crimes, as well as disgraceful acts or a failure to qualify as President.

Jokowi’s intervention in the 2024 election could potentially fall under the category of disgraceful acts, but the initiation of the impeachment process remains uncertain.

He also stressed that Jokowi’s actions could potentially lead to impeachment or removal from office. However, the political landscape and the majority support enjoyed by Jokowi in Parliament may influence the likelihood of such actions being taken.

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