Political analyst Saleh Partaonan Daulay said the meeting between President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Prabowo Subianto had strategic meaning and benefited both sides.
The meeting was held at the invitation of the President but before they met the agenda of their meeting was not disclosed to the curious media.
"I am invited by the President, possibly to discuss several issues but I myself do not know the substance of the agenda. I think it concerns economic issues and other matters," Prabowo said before the meeting.
Presidential Spokesman Julian Aldrian Pasha did not either explain the agenda of the meeting. "The substance of their meeting would be explained after the meeting," Julian said.
Deputy Chairman of Gerindra Fadli Zon who accompanied Prabowo during the meeting said earlier the invitation was dispatched by Minister/State Secretary Sudi Silalahi on Saturday.
He said that he did not know the agenda of their talks, expressing his appreciation of the president`s invitation. Fadli said however that a friendship meeting was something important in politics and could build political maturity.
When asked on whether they would discuss a political coalition in the face of the 2014 presidential race, Prabowo said he had no idea. "Let`s see later. Politics is dynamics," he was quoted by "Suara Pembaruan Online" as saying.
During the meeting, Prabowo was accompanied by Fadli Zon while the President was accompanied by Minister/State Secretary Sudi Silalahi and Cabinet Secretary Dipo Alam.
The meeting which had originally been scheduled from 3.30 pm to 4.30 pm lasted for two hours until 5.30.
After the meeting, Prabowo told the press that he had discussed economic matters with the President. They also touched on politics and the country`s stability.
Prabowo praised the economic performance under Yudhoyono`s government in the last several years.
"I have to say that the overview that we have (in the meeting) was comprehensive and I got a very meaningful and important picture. He (the president) explained the matter in his capacity as the state leader to political figures of various circles. So, we, who are outside the government, are well informed and get intact and complete information," Prabowo said.
He said that the economic management being carried out by the government now was running well.
"I have to acknowledge and we have to recognize that our economic management now is already good. You know that I am an outspoken person who often voices strong criticism over a certain policy. I see the government has heard a lot of our criticisms and in the last three to four years and there have been many adjustments and many of his (the president) thoughts and mines indicated several similarities," he said.
Prabowo mentioned Indonesia`s policy with regard to the involvement of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Indonesia.
"Our attitude, for example, is (in line with that of Yudhoyono) that we have to praise his policy in pulling Indonesia out of the IMF," he said.
On political issues, Yudhoyono and Prabowo --who were both graduates of the Indonesian Armed Forces Academy (Akabri)-- only discussed the regional head election mechanism.
"I told the President that we need to rethink together the system of direct regional head elections for district heads and governors. I think the current system is inefficient for the nation," he said adding that the system could be returned to the people`s representation, namely election by the Regional Legislative Assembly (DPRD).
He also agreed with the president that maintaining stability in the face of the presidential race in 2014 was a common responsibility. "Stability is our common responsibility. We want a change where the situation would be calm and peaceful for all sides. The people want the elite to act peacefully and wisely," he said.
Regarding their meeting, Saleh Partaonan Daulay, who is a lecturer at the Social and Political Sciences Faculty of the State Islamic University (UIN) Jakarta, said the two leaders had mutual interest in the meeting.
"Both have mutual interest. Indirectly, Prabowo has hope that the president will support his nomination as a presidential hopeful in the 2014 presidential election," Saleh said.
President Yudhoyono in the meantime also needed Prabowo`s support in carrying out his state duties until the end of his presidential term, he added.
"Of course, Prabowo did not hope the Democratic Party would support his nomination. His target is that Yudhoyono would not hamper his nomination through the bureaucratic and military channels," Saleh said.
Saleh said Yudhoyono was happy with a recent statement of Prabowo that he would support the government of the president until the end of his term. "The meeting is a form of positive response of Yudhoyono to the Gerindra`s chief patron`s statement," he said
He said that Yudhoyono needed such a political support. When other political parties in Yudhoyono`s government`s coalition began to think of their own respective interest, Prabowo adversely came up to express his support.
Such a support has significant meaning as it comes from the chief patron of a political party outside the government`s coalition.
"Yudhoyono is now facing a very complex problem. While he has to think of and carrying out state duties, he has also to settle internal problems in the Democratic Party. He is also receiving sharp criticisms from many directions. Therefore, Prabowo`s support serves as cool water to relieve thirst," he said.
If Prabowo is consistent in his support, at least Yudhoyono would not pose any constraint to Prabowo`s nomination as a presidential hopeful.
"Now, Prabowo is quite sure and has self-confidence. He believes that if there is no constraint, he would win the next presidential race," he said.
He has been mentioned as the presidential aspirant of Gerindra in the coming presidential race in 2014.
In 2009, Prabowo was a vice presidential candidate who paired up with Megawati Soekarnoputri, Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P)`s presidential candidate.
In the 2009 presidential race, the Megawati-Prabowo pair was defeated by Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono - Boediono presidential and vice presidential aspirants.
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Boediono pair-up won the elections in the first round, winning 73.874 million of the votes or 60.80 percent, followed by the Megawati-Prabowo pair with 32.548 million votes or 26.79 percent and the Jusuf Kalla - Wiranto pair who won 15.081 million votes or 12.41 percent. (A014/S012)
Editor: B Kunto Wibisono