JAKARTA - The loser in this year's presidential election, Prabowo Subianto, has told president-elect Joko "Jokowi" Widodo that he cannot ensure his attendance at the latter's presidential inauguration ceremony on Monday due to a family event.
Prabowo and Jokowi met on Friday morning at Prabowo's family home at Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta, to mark the former's 63rd birthday. During the meeting, both men exchanged friendly greetings and wished each other well.
Prabowo claimed he had not received an invitation to the inauguration, which was supposed to be given to him at 3 p.m. on Friday by People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) Speaker Zulkifli Hasan.
"As a statesman and a citizen of this nation, if I am invited to the ceremony then I will attend. However, I have said to Pak Jokowi that I may not be able to attend due to personal family matters overseas that I must attend to," the Gerindra Party chairman said following the meeting with Jokowi as quoted by Antara news agency.
He vowed to "try his best" to settle his family matters the night before Monday's inauguration, but noted that he had informed Jokowi of his potential absence. Prabowo is scheduled to travel abroad on Friday night or Saturday morning, but he did not disclose his destination or nature of the trip.
Meanwhile, MPR Speaker Zulkifli voiced his hope that Prabowo would attend the ceremony, as it would be "the greatest gift [Prabowo] can give to the republic of Indonesia".
Several chairmen of Red-and-White Coalition parties will also attend the event, such as National Mandate Party (PAN) chairman Hatta Rajasa, who was Prabowo's running mate in the recent presidential election, and Golkar Party chairman Aburizal Bakrie.