Jokowi loyalist hints at cabinet reshuffle to remove PDI-P ministers


President Joko 'Jokowi; Widodo (third right) leading a limited cabinet meeting at Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on May 3, 2024. - Antara

JAKARTA: Communications and Information Minister Budi Arie Setiadi has suggested that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo might reshuffle his cabinet yet again, in part to oust ministers from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).

It was possible that the President could revamp his cabinet just four months before the end of his presidency, said Budi, who also heads Projo, the largest group of Jokowi supporters that have been behind the President since his first presidential campaign in 2014.

“All possibilities are always open,” the communications minister said on Thursday (June 13(), as quoted by Tempo.co.

“I’m not saying no, but I’ll leave that matter to the President,” he added.

Budi neither confirmed nor denied whether Jokowi was planning to remove cabinet ministers that hailed from the PDI-P, who had reportedly grown more critical of his government, only acknowledging that there had been complaints about the “shifting allegiance” of certain ministers.

“It’s because we’ve heard those [voices]. So let’s just wait. That’s the President’s prerogative,” he said.

Budi did not reveal who the ministers in question were, hinting only that some ministers were seen as unenthusiastic about supporting Jokowi’s programmes.

“You can see which ministers still have great fighting spirit,” he added.

The cabinet ministers from the PDI-P include Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung, Social Affairs Minister Tri Rismaharini and Women's Empowerment and Child Protection Minister I Gusti Ayu Bintang Darmawati.

Jokowi has been a PDI-P member for the past two decades, during which the nationalist party has staunchly backed his rising political star since his days as Surakarta mayor in Central Java.

But relations between the two have deteriorated, especially in the months leading up to the 2024 presidential election, with some PDI-P officials suggesting that Jokowi had abandoned it to solidify his legacy by pushing for his eldest son Gibran Rakabuming Raka’s pairing with Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto.

A cabinet reshuffle would hinge on whether it was necessary to support and “synchronise” with the incoming government of president-elect Prabowo, who ran in the February polls with Jokowi’s tacit endorsement.

Speculation about a potential cabinet reshuffle emerged after Jokowi met with party leaders from Prabowo’s electoral alliance in late May at the presidential palace in Jakarta, Tempo daily reported, citing several unnamed sources who said the President was looking to replace in June several ministers who were unsupportive of his programmes.

But the sources also said some party leaders told Jokowi during the meeting that a cabinet reshuffle was unnecessary since his term was ending in October, according to Tempo.

Jokowi admitted he had met with the leaders of several pro-government parties.

“I met with them, but we didn’t talk about a cabinet reshuffle,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

Asked about what the President and party leaders had discussed at their meeting, Budi said the meeting primarily focused on ensuring the continuation of Jokowi’s programmes under Prabowo’s incoming government.

“[They talked about] all kinds of things, because the government must be solid,” the minister said.

“[We need] sustainability and continuous synchronisation, so consolidation is necessary.” - The Jakarta Post/ANN

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Indonesia , PDI-P , cabinet , Jokowi , reshuffle , ministers

   

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