Jokowi must act firmly or lose trust: Expert

Jokowi must act firmly or lose trust: Expert
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo could lose the public's trust if he continues dragging his feet over the fate of Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan as the next National Police chief, an analyst has said.

Chief researcher at Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting (SMRC) Djayadi Hanan said that the President could further alienate his supporters through his indecision, putting him in a perilous situation given that he already lacks political support from his coalition.

"The President is already in a 'triple minority' position: he is supported by the smaller coalition, he is not in control of his political party and he is the 'new kid on the block'. There is a huge risk that postponing this decision will make him seem incompetent to the public," Djayadi said in a discussion on Saturday.

Djayadi also warned Jokowi against making the wrong move regarding Budi, arguing that the most damage would be done by appointing the police general to the post of National Police chief.

"That would prolong the controversy, because [Jokowi] has promised to strengthen the antigraft campaign. He also risks further damaging the relationship between the Corruption Eradication Commission [KPK] and the police. The public will likely distrust the police force even more," he said.

Meanwhile, Constitutional law expert Refly Harun said Jokowi would risk nothing by making a drastic decision on Budi.

Refly said that the President would not face impeachment proceedings if he decided to drop Budi's inauguration.

He explained that Jokowi would only violate the Constitution if he refused to inaugurate a separate group's nominee whom the House of Representatives had agreed upon.

"The President has the prerogative to name a candidate who will then be endorsed by the House, so if he decides to withdraw the candidate, he will not have violated the 1945 Constitution," he said.

Refly said that moreover, the House could not start impeachment proceedings as Jokowi would have in fact prevented a graft suspect from holding the top police position.

The 1945 Constitution rules that the President can only be relieved of his position for treason, corruption or other major criminal acts.

Refly added that the process would be trickier if Budi was found guilty for graft after he had been inaugurated, as Jokowi would need the House's consent before removing him from his position according to Article 11 of the National Police Law.

"It is justifiable not to inaugurate someone on the grounds that he is to be brought before a court," he said.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, Jokowi held a closed-door meeting in Surakarta, Central Java, with leaders of political parties in the Great Indonesia Coalition, including Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) chairperson Megawati Soekarnoputri and NasDem party chairman Surya Paloh.

Although Jokowi was tight-lipped earlier in the day, he acknowledged upon his return to Jakarta that the National Police chief candidacy was one of the topics discussed in the meeting.

When pressed about when he would announce his decision, the President shot back: "Can't you be patient for just one more day?"

NasDem secretary-general Patrice Rio Capella said that during the meeting, Jokowi and the party leaders had agreed that a decision on the fate of Budi could only be made after the South Jakarta District Court issued its verdict on the pretrial motion filed by the three-star police general against the KPK's naming him a suspect.

The court is expected to hand down its verdict on Monday.

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