Gerindra Party chairperson Prabowo Subianto and Demokrasi Indonesia Perjuangan Party (PDI-P) chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri - Photo: InsiderStories.

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Indonesia’s two top politicians, Gerindra Party chairperson Prabowo Subianto and Demokrasi Indonesia Perjuangan Party (PDI-P) chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri send a signal to join forces in advancing Indonesia after both and the party they led was involved in the fierce political competition over the last decade.

The two senior politicians have been involved in the political competition since the 2014 presidential election and the two parties they lead have become symbols of the rivalry to seize power in the world’s third-largest democracy.

But today is a sign to end their rivalry after fifth former president Soekarnoputri has lunch with Subianto, who was defeated in this year’s presidential election by PDI-P cadre President Joko Widodo.

“We connect family, old friendships. I always feel that I have received respect and good treatment from Mrs. Megawati for a long time. Sometimes we may differ in some political attitudes that are not principles, in my opinion, because we are patriots, have a commitment with Indonesian unity as a fixed price,” Subianto began talks after a meeting at the Soekarnoputri Residence in Jakarta on Wednesday (07/24).

The former general acknowledged the difference in his political attitudes and choices with the son of Indonesia’s first president, Soekarno. But he was sure that all of this eventually in the context of advancing the nation and Indonesia’s interests were the goal of all his struggles so far.

“If there is a difference, it is normal. At the end we always want to continue and connect the kinship straps of kinship and harmonious relationships, good relations, so that we can help overcome national problems,” he adds.

The rivalry between PDI-P and Gerindra can be traced all the way back to 2009 when Soekarnoputri ran for her second term as president with Subianto as her running mate. She was eventually defeated by Democratic Party leader Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who went on to serve for two terms.

Relations between PDI-P and Gerindra turned extremely sour by 2014, during which time Soekarnoputri was said to have reneged on her promise to have her party back Subianto’s presidential bid in return for his backing her in 2009. Instead, she nominated then-Jakarta Governor Widodo, who defeated former general five years ago and again in a rematch this year.

But since Subianto’s defeat was made legally official last month, both parties have taken major steps to reconcile in order to heal a politically divided country. After Subianto met with Widodo to show his support for the president earlier this month, the former military general accepted an invitation by Soekarnoputri to have lunch with her at her home today and offer the public a glimpse at a rare sight: the two senior politicians being in the same space together.

“This meeting concerns fundamental aspects, the friendship between leaders, although, in different political choices, it still has a commitment to dialogue and put the interests of the nation and the state above all else. Whatever post-election reconciliation is important,” Soekarnoputri said in a press conference.

The former president stressed that his meeting with Subianto was not linked to the distribution of power. She said the meeting was a good tradition of friendship to be run by leaders. She dismissed the opinion of many parties about the possibility of joining the Gerindra party into the government coalition through this meeting.

“It must be discussed with all the leaders of our coalition party. So I did not speak in that direction. Especially about the quota of ministerial seats, it was not my right. That was presidential prescription Jokowi’s rights. So let’s respect him as elected president,” he said when asked about the possibility of Gerindra entering the coalition.

Subianto arrived at Soekarnoputri’s residence just after noon today, greeted by herself and several other PDI-P senior politicians, including her daughter, Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister Puan Maharani. All appeared to be in jovial spirits and Soekarnoputri even prepared a special dish for her special guest.

“I saw earlier that even the onions Ibu Megawati used to cook were specially picked,” PDI-P Secretary General Hasto Kristianto told reporters.

He says the meeting is nothing more than a social visit between old friends and rebuffed any suggestions that both leaders were discussing an alliance between the two parties.

“When viewed from the party’s constitution, it is also the same as the Pancasila as the basis of the state. Between Gerindra and PDIP, the platform is actually the same. Maybe that is the capital to do an understanding of the consensus agreement,” he said.

During the political reconciliation talks between PDI-P and Gerindra over the past few weeks, speculation has been rife that Gerindra may end up leaving the opposition coalition — which it has led — to join the PDI-P-led government coalition. That said, Gerindra officials have yet to say what the near future holds for the party.

While other parties in the opposition coalition have also expressed interest in jumping over to the government coalition, the Islamic-based Keadilan Sosial Party (PKS) has been the only major party to remain steadfast in its desire to continue opposing the government, considering that the government already has a supermajority in parliament.

Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: lexy@theinsiderstories.com