The Jakarta Post
President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo again delayed the announcement of his Cabinet lineup on Wednesday night, prompting speculation that he was wrangling with the leaders of political parties in his coalition who were insisting on nominating problematic candidates.
After hours of speculation on Wednesday evening, news broke that President Jokowi would announce his Cabinet lineup at Tanjung Priok Port in North Jakarta.
Preparations for the lavish event at Dock 302, container Terminal 3 of Tanjung Priok, started on Wednesday afternoon with workers constructing a stage at the location.
The Presidential Palace media relations division had bused journalists to the location in the afternoon. Jokowi was expected to make the announcement at 7 p.m.
However, the President and his entourage did not turn up at the location until 7:30 p.m., when workers started to switch off strobe lights on the stage.
Earlier in the day, Jokowi said he wanted to announce the Cabinet as soon as possible after dropping the names of eight candidates deemed problematic by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (PPATK).
'[I] of course want to work fast; but what if [working] fast later brings the wrong result? [Working] fast and right. That's the idea,' he said during a press conference on Wednesday at 12 p.m.
Jokowi said he had sent a new list to the KPK with names of candidates to replace the eight not recommended by the antigraft body.
'Frankly speaking, we sent it [the list] to the KPK and there are eight names that are not allowed.'
The KPK has revealed that it advised Jokowi not to appoint some candidates on the 43-name shortlist.
Jokowi also denied that he had to fend off political pressure and lobbying from political parties.
But events soon after Jokowi canceled his Cabinet lineup announcement indicated intense negotiations were still ongoing.
The former head of Jokowi's transition team, Rini Soemarno, and former team member Hasto Kristiyanto, who had also been touted as ministerial candidates, arrived at Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri's private residence in Central Jakarta soon after the announcement was called off.
Rini's sedan was seen leaving the residence 20 minutes later.
When asked why Jokowi had postponed the announcement, Rini said: 'It was because [he] is still waiting for the House [of Representatives regarding changes in the Cabinet structure].'
Newly inaugurated commander of the Presidential Security Detail (Paspampres), Maj. Gen. Andika Perkasa, who is tasked with protecting Jokowi at all events, also visited Megawati's residence. His presence fueled speculation that Jokowi had already made an impromptu visit to see Megawati.
In an interview with MetroTV on Wednesday evening, Vice President Jusuf Kalla quickly denied that friction had occurred between Jokowi and elite figures in his coalition, particularly Megawati.
Kalla said the decision to delay the announcement was taken to ensure that the pair could consider many issues, including the expertise and track records of ministerial candidates, before making a final decision. 'That needs time,' Kalla said.
Jokowi also continued to summon a number of figures, including some who had been touted as ministerial candidates.
Among them were NasDem Party executive and former Home Ministry secretary-general Siti Nurbaya Bakar, former deputy finance minister Bambang Brodjonegoro, former director general of elementary and secondary eduction at the Education Ministry, Indra Djati Sidi, as well as three academics: Andalas University state administrative law professor Saldi Isra, University of Indonesia public policy expert Andrinof Chaniago and Gadjah Mada University rector Pratikno.
After her meeting with Jokowi, Siti, who was touted to be the home minister, said she was ready to accept any position offered.
'I was asked about the culture of our bureaucracy and how to improve the organization of our central and local [administrations].'
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