Andika Perkasa appointed new Army chief of staff
Marguerite Afra Sapiie
The Jakarta Post
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has inaugurated former Presidential Security Detail (Paspampres) commander Gen. Andika Perkasa as the new Army chief of staff ahead of the 2019 presidential and legislative election.
Andika, formerly the Army Strategic Reserves commander (Pangkostrad), was sworn in during a ceremony at the State Palace on Thursday. He was also promoted to the rank of four-star general so the 53-year-old would be eligible for the post.
The son-in-law of former State Intelligence Agency (BIN) chief Hendropriyono, a close aide to Jokowi, has replaced Gen. Mulyono, who is retiring in January next year.
"We acknowledge [Andika's] track record in the military," Jokowi told reporters after the inauguration. "His career [in the military] is sufficient [for him to become Army chief of staff]."
A 1987 Army Academy graduate, Andika was among four candidates Hadi had proposed to the President, Jokowi said.
Andika served as Paspampres commander right after Jokowi took office in 2014. He was promoted to a three-star general and appointed to lead the Military Education and Training Command in Bandung (Kodiklat) earlier this year, only to serve for a few months until he was appointed as Pangkostrad in July.
Critics, however, have attributed his rapid rise in the military to Hendropriyono’s position in Jokowi's inner circle.
Hendropriyono was the confidant of Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri. His son, Diaz, currently leads the Indonesian Justice and Unity Party (PKPI), a supporting political party to the government.
The PDI-P and PKPI are among the political parties backing Jokowi's reelection bid next year.
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