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Indonesia’s Prabowo wants a ‘president’s club’. But can Joko Widodo, Megawati, Yudhoyono see eye to eye?

Prabowo’s spokesperson Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak first floated the idea of a “president’s club” earlier this month.

“In essence, Prabowo wants former presidents to continue to meet regularly and discuss strategic national issues. So that national friendship is maintained, and they become role models for all of us,” Dahnil told reporters on May 3.

Widodo appeared to be on board when asked about the so-called “president’s club”, telling reporters that a “meeting every few days would be just fine”. Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party also publicly welcomed the proposal.

Prabowo, 74, is set to take over the presidency from Widodo on October 20. The former general won a landslide victory in the country’s February election, a win observers have largely attributed to the tacit electoral support of the highly popular current president.

Analysts say, while the club may be Prabowo’s attempt to consolidate his power by keeping influential presidents – particularly Widodo – at arm’s length, there are already limitations to the group working together.

The biggest challenge is the grievances the former leaders may hold for each other, according to Alexander Arifianto, a senior fellow with the Indonesia programme at S Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.

“Whether this idea is politically feasible or not remains to be seen,” Arifianto said.

It might be particularly difficult to court Megawati – the chairwoman of the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P). Analysts say she has held a grudge against Yudhoyono after he defeated her in the 2004 election, consigning PDI-P to the opposition under his administration.

More recently, Megawati has had a falling out with Widodo, who had been a PDI-P member for over two decades.