Jokowi may delay decision on KPK-Police conflict

Jokowi may delay decision on KPK-Police conflict
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo is likely to again delay his final decision on the conflict between the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and the National Police (Polri), despite his promise last week to issue a comprehensive solution to the critical problem.

As if to find another excuse to again postpone the decision on who should become the new Polri chief and how to meet mounting public pressure that he should save the KPK from concerted efforts by various parties to weaken the antigraft body, the President said he had abundant urgent problems that demanded his special attention.

Jokowi made the statement in front of hundreds of Muslim intellectuals, clerics and representatives from various Islamic organisations while he was making a speech during the closing ceremony of the 6th Congress of Indonesian Muslims in Yogyakarta on Wednesday.

The President first mentioned corruption, which he described as one of country's most serious problems. Later, he brought up the standoff between the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and the police. Many believed his indecisiveness over the fate of Polri chief candidate Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan, who had been declared a graft suspect by the KPK, was a key factor in the current political upheavals.

"The problem [is] between the KPK and the police, which we have yet to solve," he said. "There are several problems that are overlapping one another here […] There is a piling up of political problems and legal procedures," said the President in a clear attempt to ask for audience understanding.

Jokowi was facing huge pressure from his own coalition to install Budi, despite his status as a suspect. He also must calm an increasingly impatient public that is demanding he stop the police from pursuing criminal charges against the four KPK commissioners. KPK employees have asked the President for protection, claiming they are facing serious death threats from unidentified people.

"Such a piling [of problems], I have to see to one by one," the President said, adding that he must also devote energy to the 2015 state budget.

Meanwhile, in response to media questions about whether he would keep his word and give a final decision this week, Jokowi merely said, "soon, soon."

Initially, the President insisted the fate of Budi would mostly depend on whether the prospective police chief would be able to win his pretrial hearing against the KPK. The verdict is expected to be issued next Monday.

State Secretary Pratikno called on the nation to patiently wait for the President's decision.

"Let's wait [for Jokowi's decision] this week," Pratikno said.

The National Police Commission (Kompolnas), which is tasked by law to advise the President on the appointment of the National Police chief, was invited to the Presidential Palace on Tuesday night, but failed to meet Jokowi because the President had a scheduled meeting with Vice President Jusuf Kalla.

Pratikno confirmed the commission had indeed submitted a list of potential candidates. "Yes, there are additional new names," Pratikno responded when asked about new names on the list.

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