Elites gang up on Jokowi to stand by graft suspect Budi

A string of meetings with members of his inner circle occupied President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo until late Thursday, as he continues to mull a response to demands from political elites to appoint graft suspect Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan as the next chief of the National Police.

  • a string – serangkaian, serentetan
  • occupy – menyibukkan
  • mull – memikirkan, mempertimbangkan
  • appoint – menunjuk, memutuskan
  • graft – korupsi, sogok
  • chief – kepala, utama

Among Jokowi’s close associates present at the Presidential Palace included FX Hadi Rudyatmo, Jokowi’s mentor and successor as mayor of Surakarta in Central Java; Luhut Panjaitan, Jokowi’s presidential chief of staff and long-time business partner; Cabinet Secretary Andi Widjajanto; State Secretary and college friend Pratikno; and Vice President Jusuf Kalla.

“Options [regarding Budi’s nomination] are still being discussed,” said Andi.

Jokowi’s patron, Megawati Soe-karnoputri, the leader of the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), has joined forces with NasDem Party chairman Surya Paloh and Kalla in demanding Budi be installed as police chief.

  • successor – penerus, pengganti
  • patron – pelindung, penyokong
  • demanding – permintaan
  • chairman – ketua umum

 After the House of Representatives endorsed Budi’s nomination on Thursday, Surya publicly urged Jokowi to move forward with the inauguration, despite the latter’s being named a graft suspect by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) on Tuesday.

“The faster the better,” Surya said.

Kalla, Surya’s golf buddy, also threw support behind Budi, saying that preliminary observations suggested the charges facing Budi, the current chief of the National Police’s education and training division, had not triggered state losses.

“The KPK should clarify which aspect of the case caused losses,” he said.

Surya and Kalla have echoed an order made by Megawati during the PDI-P’s anniversary celebration for complete party support for Budi’s nomination.

Budi served as an adjutant to Megawati during her time as vice president in 1999 and 2001 and as president between 2001 and 2004.

The two have enjoyed close relations since, with Budi reportedly being one of the few within Megawati’s circle of confidants to have supported Jokowi in last year’s presidential campaign.

  • buddy – konco, teman baik
  • charge – tuntutan, dakwaan
  • echoed – mengumandangkan, menggemakan
  • adjutant – ajudan
  • confidant = kerahasiahan

As a new figure on the national political stage, Jokowi has weak party support. This has forced him to award Cabinet seats and top positions at state-owned companies to close associates of Megawati, Surya and Kalla.

Analysts say the favoritism has triggered envy.

According to several PDI-P politicians, Jokowi is more accommodating of Surya’s interests than of Megawati’s or Kalla’s.

In addition to securing three Cabinet seats in strategic sectors, confidants of Surya also received the post of attorney general when NasDem party legislator HM Prasetyo was appointed to the job last year.

  • attorney general – jaksa agung

Arya Fernandes, a political analyst from the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), said that intervention by powerful politicians surrounding Jokowi, such as Megawati, Surya and Kalla, could weaken the President’s administration.

“The President could be seen as a weak leader without autonomous power,” Arya said.

“What is more dangerous is if the President loses his dignity. Then, the people’s trust could plummet, which could incite unrest. He has assured the public that he is the one who has ultimate authority,” he said.

Arya added that Jokowi should involve the public to help him fight elite demands running counter to the public interest.

  • autonomous – (of a country or region) having self-government, at least to a significant degree.
  • dignity – martabat, kehormatan
  • plummet – jatuh terjerembab, terjungkir-jungkir
  • incite – menghasut, mendorong, encourage or stir up (violent or unlawful behavior).

The Golkar Party’s Bambang Soesatyo has indicated that the controversy surrounding Budi’s nomination has sparked infighting and a power struggle within Jokowi’s Great Indonesia Coalition.

During Budi’s confirmation hearing on Wednesday, Bambang said that a powerful figure could be behind the scenes directing Jokowi’s actions.

”I and all of you may not know what really happened between the [Presidential] Palace and Teuku Umar [the street where Megawati resides in Central Jakarta], because Budi was not the only candidate recommended for the position,” he said.

“There were other candidates endorsed by other powerful figures within the Great Indonesia Coalition, including by the President himself. But for some reason, the PDI-P seems to strongly support you,” Bambang told Budi.

  • spark – memercik, mencetus
  • endorse – menyetujui, menyokong



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