Andi Widjajanto named as Cabinet secretary
Bagus BT Saragih and Ina Parlina
The Jakarta Post
Andi Widjajanto, one of President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo's closest aides, will soon serve as the new Cabinet secretary, pending an inauguration at the State Palace slated to be held next week.
He will replace Dipo Alam, who was also known as one of former president Susilo Bambang Yudho-yono's confidants.
'I was summoned by the President who told me to maintain communications with State Secretary [Pratikno] until the inauguration next Monday or Tuesday,' said Andi at the Palace on Thursday.
Pratikno also hinted that Andi would soon be inaugurated as Cabinet secretary. He said Andi would oversee other presidential bodies such as the Presidential Working Unit for the Supervision and Management of Development ( UKP4 ) and the President's special staffers.
The new Cabinet secretary would also have more authority than the position held under Yudhoyono's administration, he said.
Andi, for instance, would have the power to guide ministers' programs, ensuring that every ministry's works were in line with Jokowi's and Vice President Jusuf Kalla's vision and mission, as well as to evaluate the performances of ministers.
'It should be the Cabinet secretariat that oversees the UKP4 in order to assist the President in monitoring the implementation of the ministries' programs,' he said.
The 43-year-old Andi is the son of the late Theo Syafei, a seasoned politician from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), which is the political vessel that promoted Jokowi. Theo was also known as one of PDI-P chairwoman and former president Megawati Soekarnoputri's political advisers.
Andi is known as Jokowi's strategic thinker who had been helping the President since he became a candidate for the nation's top post. He was one of the figures who had helped Jokowi prepare his presidential campaign.
Before taking part in politics, Andi was widely known as a defense, strategy and international politics analyst from the University of Indonesia. Andi got a master's degree from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces National Defense University in Washington, DC, the US, in 2003.
Andi said the Cabinet secretary and state secretary would need to achieve synergy to prevent the two roles from overlapping.
The Cabinet secretary is responsible for serving the President when he is acting as the head of government, while the state secretary must serve Jokowi when he functions as the head of state, Andi added.
Jokowi has put a plan to form a new presidential institution called the office of the chief of staff of the president on hold until February, according to Andi.
'As a new institution, it will need a presidential decree that should be drafted by the state secretary, the Cabinet secretary and the administrative reforms minister,' Andi added.
Andi formerly served as a deputy on Jokowi's transition team.
The team, which was dismissed after Jokowi's presidential inauguration on Oct. 20, had been tasked to formulate, in detail, the programs Jokowi and his ministers would carry out and facilitate the gathering of information from the ministers of Yudhoyono's administration.
Previously, Andi denied that his assignment to the transition team would pave his way to the President's Cabinet.
'All members of the team have agreed that, after this team finishes its duties, we will not seek any position in the Cabinet,' he said, earlier this month. 'This is to prevent any perception that our work on the team had been motivated by a desire for a Cabinet position.'
'However,' Andi said, 'if any of us is asked by Jokowi to become one of his ministers that would be a different matter.'
Andi is the third leader of the transition team who got a minister-level position.
The team's head, Rini Mariani Soemarno, was appointed to lead the State-Owned Enterprises Ministry, while the team's other deputy, Paramadina University rector Anies Baswedan, now serves as the Culture and Elementary/Secondary Education minister.
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