Yogyakarta sultan refuses to take sides

Yogyakarta sultan refuses to take sides
On the fence
Yogyakarta Sultan Hamengkubuwono X (right) greets presidential candidate Joko “Jokowi” Widodo at the former’s palace in Yogyakarta on Monday. The sultan said he would remain neutral in the presidential election.

The Sultan and governor of Yogyakarta, Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X has insisted on his neutrality in the upcoming presidential election while hoping that if Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Jusuf Kalla win the presidency they will use their power in the interests of the people.

"I have great hopes that if they are elected their power will be dedicated for the people," the sultan told reporters after receiving Jokowi, Kalla and their entourage at Kraton Kilen as the pair visited the ancient city on Monday.

Among the entourage were Paramadina University rector Anies Baswedan, Sunardi Rinakit, Teten Masduki and a number of legislators from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).

Apart from the sultan, also meeting the entourage were his wife Gusti Kanjeng Ratu Hemas and three of their daughters.

As the supreme leader and guardian of Javanese culture, a blessing from Hamengkubuwono would have provided a boost of Javanese voters to either presidential candidate. The Javanese are the country's largest ethnic group, accounting for around 60 per cent of the population.

Hamengkubuwono, however, confirmed that he would remain neutral and would not take the side of either pair of candidates. He would also welcome the camp of presidential and vice presidential hopefuls Prabowo Subianto and Hatta Rajasa should they come to see him in Yogyakarta.

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