Jokowi criticized for awarding 16 out of 34 seats to political party members

Jokowi criticized for awarding 16 out of 34 seats to political party members

President-elect Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's decision to award 16 seats in his Cabinet to political party members has drawn criticism, with some saying that Jokowi has failed to form the politically impartial Cabinet he promised.

Senior political analyst from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) Syamsuddin Haris said that the Jakarta governor succumbed to the pressure of the political parties supporting him, his party's (the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, or PDI-P) chairperson, Megawati Soekarnoputri and his running mate, Jusuf Kalla.

"We witnessed in Jokowi's announcement last night that he faced great challenges in trying to form his ideal Cabinet. His Cabinet is similar to the previous one [consisting of 34 ministries]," Syamsudin said on Tuesday as quoted by kompas.com.

Despite the president-elect's decision, he praised the planned abolishment of the deputy minister positions in all ministries except the Foreign Ministry, showing his commitment toward tightening the state budget.

Separately, the head of the PDI-P's political division, Puan Maharani, defended the former Surakarta mayor's decision, saying that political party officials would work toward achieving Jokowi's goals.

"We must understand that as long as the vision is clear, it doesn't matter whether the head of a ministry is a party member or technocrat," she said as quoted by Antara news agency.

On Monday, Jokowi announced that out of the 34 ministries in his government, 16 of them will be headed by political party officials.

Eighteen ministries will be headed by technocrats, including the Finance Ministry, State- Owned Enterprises Ministry, Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry and the Agricultural Ministry.

He will also retain three coordinating ministerial posts - Coordinating Economic Ministry, Coordinating People's Welfare Ministry and Coordinating Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Ministry.

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