Widodo's political brinksmanship backfires

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo

JAKARTA - Indonesian President Joko Widodo is in a tricky position. The opposition controls parliament. And it made the most of his controversial first nominee for the nation's next police chief.

The president has brought in reforms to rebuild the country's fiscal health and promote investment since taking office in October.

To push these reforms through parliament, he needs opposition backing, since his Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle forms a minority government.

Widodo's recent gambit over the appointment of the next police commissioner may have opened a can of worms in parliament. Its consequences are still unclear.

It began with his decision in early January to nominate Budi Gunawan, who served as a part of security detail for former President Megawati Sukarnoputri, as next chief of police.

The Corruption Eradication Commission, known in Indonesia as the KPK, vetted Budi and quickly found problems. It announced Jan 13 that it suspects Gunawan accepted gifts and bribes.

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