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No Cabinet reshuffle, for now: Yudhoyono
Publication Date : 05-01-2013
Ending weeks of speculation, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono made it clear on Friday that he would not reshuffle his Cabinet.
For now, at least.
While the president said that he hoped that his decision would help ministers stay focused, Yudhoyono did not guarantee that he would not reshuffle the Cabinet before his term of office ends in October 2014.
“I have no plans for a reshuffle at the moment,” Yudhoyono told the press on the sidelines of an impromptu visit to the Tanjung Pasir fish auction centre in Tangerang, Banten.
“I am not saying that’s until 2014, but at this point, there will be no reshuffle. This is to make things certain,” Yudhoyono added in clarification.
Political observers and politicians have been predicting that the President would use the resignation of Andi Mallarangeng, who resigned as youth and sports minister after he was named a suspect in a graft investigation, to reshuffle his ministers.
The president was expected to use Andi’s resignation as an excuse to sack poor performers in the Cabinet.
It turned out, however, that Yudhoyono intends only appoint Andi’s successor. According to the P\president, the new minister would also come from the Democratic Party.
“I will retain the number of ministers from political parties. Since the one who resigned was from the Democratic Party, for the sake of fairness, I will fill the vacant post with a member of the Democratic Party too,” he said, declining to disclose the name of Andi’s successor.
Several Democratic Party politicians have been said to be in the running to replace Andi, including lawmaker and former Jurnal Nasional daily chief editor Ramadhan Pohan, lawmaker Chatibul Umam Wiranu and party patron and former Jakarta governor Fauzi “Foke” Bowo.
Most recently, presidential aide on regional autonomy and development Velix Vernando Wanggai has also been touted as a potential replacement.
Yudhoyono’s visit to the fishermen’s village was a departure from his usual style. The president and First Lady Ani Yudhoyono were reportedly free from protocol, enabling enthusiastic local residents to shake the pair’s hands.
Yudhoyono was reportedly surprised after finding out that the fishermen’s village lacked decent sanitation and disappointed to hear reports that the fishermen could not regularly buy subsidised diesel fuel for their boats due to shortages.
The President and the First Lady gave a special attention to a baby girl with a tumor on her nose. Officials said that Yudhoyono asked an aide to admit the baby to Army Central Hospital (RSPAD) in Jakarta.
Yudhoyono’s advisor for political communications, Daniel Sparingga, however, denied that the President’s impromptu visit to an underprivileged community resembled those made by Jakarta Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.
“The president will utilise his remaining time in office to go out in the field. The purpose is to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the policies made by the central and regional governments. Direct interaction with the people hopefully will provide first-hand information to the president,” he said in a statement.