Jakarta. President-elect Joko Widodo has asked the presidential guard now responsible for ensuring his security to allow him the flexibility to continue his trademark activity of visiting constituents.
The impromptu visits, known as blusukan, to hear directly from people in usually poor areas about their problems, has helped build up an image of the Jakarta governor and former mayor of Solo as a man of the people, setting him apart from the typically aloof political elite.
Joko said he did not want the infamously militant security of the presidential guard, known as Paspampres, to prevent him from continuing with that tradition.
“It is Jokowi’s request that his security shouldn’t change from that applied by the previously provided police detail,” Sudyatmiko Ariwibowo, an official with Joko’s campaign team, said on Sunday as quoted by Detik.com.
“It is currently a one-week transition period [to transfer the job of securing Joko] between Paspampres [and the police]. [Paspampres] said they would make the necessary adjustments,” he added.
Joko and his vice president-elect, Jusuf Kalla, were handed their official security detail on Friday following the Constitutional Court’s confirmation of their July 9 election win on Thursday.
A handover ceremony from the police to Paspampres, a unit of the Army, was held on Friday at the General Elections Commission (KPU) headquarters.
“The KPU thanks the police for a job well done,” KPU chairman Husni Kamil Manik said as quoted by Antara. “From now on, we delegate the task [of securing Joko and Kalla] to Paspampres.”
Lt. Col. Achmad Budi Handoyo from the presidential guard said scores of personnel would be tasked with the security of the country’s next president, vice president and their families.
“Each team consists of 37 personnel,” he said on Friday. “For the president [and vice president], 25 officers will be deployed each, and 12 officers will guard each spouse.”
On Saturday, as Joko attended a public event for the first time under the watch of Paspampres — he was attending a wedding reception — he expressed his confusion with the new security measures.
“I used to be able to go anywhere, to meet hawkers, visit warung [street food stalls] and other places to eat. Now there are too many guards. I’m confused,” he said. “Today I’m also confused. Where can I go? There are too many people guarding me. They wear suits and ties.”
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