JAKARTA - Starting from Friday, president-elect Joko "Jokowi" Widodo will be continuously surrounded by tight military protection. After his official induction on Oct. 20 four colonel-level adjutants will maintain an around-the-clock, close-quarter presence at the side of the country's seventh president for the next five years.
The Presidential Security Detail (Paspampres) assigned 25 personnel to Jokowi and 12 to his wife Iriana Widodo one day after the Constitutional Court rejected a legal challange by losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto to Jokowi's victory.
Vice president-elect Jusuf Kalla and his wife Mufidah Kalla have also received similar treatment.
Compared to his six predecessors, Jokowi will probably be the most difficult leader to guard for Paspampres due to his fondness for being close to the people, and his very informal style, particularly his habit of blusukan (impromptu visits) formed during his term as the mayor of Surakarta and two years as Jakarta governor.
Jokowi made it very clear on Friday that he would not allow security and protocol details to become barriers between him and the people.
"I am the one who manages Paspampres. Wouldn't it be the other way around if I was being managed [by Paspampres]?" he insisted.
The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) liaison officer Sudiyatmiko Aribowo also said that Jokowi would instruct Paspampres to ease the security surrounding him.
"His request is [for Paspampres] not to be too rigid, not to be formal, to be just like the way it always has been," he said.
"So just stay close to him but there's no need to stop [the people getting near Jokowi]."
Sudiyatmiko added that the intensity of the security detail might be relaxed through the aid of technology.
"If Jokowi feels that he is being restricted , then he might opt to go out by himself without Paspampres," Sudiyatmiko cautioned.
Paspampres operational unit assistant Col. Achmad Budi Handoyo said the unit had prepared 37 personnel to keep Jokowi from harm.
"But that depends on the situation, so we're flexible. If the event is large, then we will increase [the number of personnel]," he told reporters on Friday.
Budi also said that Jokowi would be escorted by seven security vehicles and three motorcycles wherever he went.
Unlike other high-ranking officials who typically use an advanced security escort, Jokowi is known for his disdain for the use of motorcycles to clear the traffic in front of his vehicle throughout his tenure as Jakarta governor. He only used the motorcycle escorts when the traffic in Jakarta was too congested and was thus jeopardizing his schedule.
Besides Jokowi and his wife, Paspampres will also provide security for their children, Kahiyang Ayu and Kaesang Pangarep.
Budi added that the personnel had been well trained and would be able to quickly adapt to Jokowi's style of blusukan.
"We have standards of procedure. But we will try [to accommodate his style] without compromising the maximum standards of security," the colonel said.