Coalition divided over Jokowi’s latest Cabinet shake-up

Ending months of speculation, President Jokowi shook up his Cabinet, awarding long-time loyalists ministerial positions.

Dio Suhenda

Dio Suhenda

The Jakarta Post


President Joko “Jokowi“ Widodo (right) inaugurates Budi Arie Setiadi (left) as communications and information minister at the State Palace in Jakarta on July 17, 2023.(Antara/Hafidz Mubarak A.)

July 20, 2023

JAKARTA – President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s recent Cabinet reshuffle, which saw his loyalists obtain ministerial posts, has had a mixed reception in his big-tent coalition, with the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) backing the decision but the embattled NasDem Party responding with criticism.

Ending months of speculation, President Jokowi shook up his Cabinet on Monday, awarding long-time loyalists ministerial positions, including Budi Arie Setiadi, who was made the new communications and information minister. He was promoted from his previous post as deputy minister for villages, disadvantaged regions and transmigration.

Budi is the leader one of Jokowi’s most prominent volunteer groups, Projo, which was pivotal in both his 2014 and 2019 electoral victories.

Budi filled the vacancy left by NasDem politician Johnny G. Plate, who was ousted from Cabinet in May after being named a suspect in a large-scale graft case related to the procurement of telecommunications infrastructure.

As part of the shake-up, businessman Rosan P. Roeslani was named deputy state-owned enterprises (SOEs) minister and Paiman Raharjo was appointed deputy villages, disadvantaged regions and transmigration minister on Monday. Both were members of Jokowi’s 2019 reelection campaign team.

Read also: Jokowi installs more loyalists in Cabinet shake-up

Some observers took the appointments as a signal of Jokowi’s support for the presidential bid of Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto over his own party’s own candidate, Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo, as a number of the new ministers have close connections to the Gerindra Party leader.

But senior PDI-P members dismissed any suggestion of divided loyalties. They said the party respected the President’s decision, even though the PDI-P had offered candidates from its own ranks to fill the communications and information minister post.

“That’s his prerogative,” said PDI-P secretary-general Hasto Kristiyanto on Monday, as quoted by, in reference to Jokowi’s choice of ministers.

Hasto added that the party stood by Jokowi’s decision to appoint Budi, who had helped him win the presidency on two occasions.

The fact that Budi was not affiliated with any political party, another senior party official said, could serve him well in advancing the President’s goals for the rest of his term in office.

“Following the reshuffle, the PDI-P hopes that the Cabinet will keep up its work for the remainder of Jokowi’s term,” said PDI-P politician Said Abdullah on Monday. “He has inducted professional, non-partisan figures, surely because they won’t be occupied by the election and can focus solely on their work as ministers.”

Said was also confident that Budi, who is a former journalist and studied communications, could help Jokowi improve the government’s public messaging and see the ministry’s heretofore graft-ridden 4G telephony project to completion.

Read also: New graft scandal besets NasDem, challenging Anies’ presidential bid

The NasDem Party, however, criticized the reshuffle. The party, a member of Jokowi’s grand coalition in the 2019 election, has seen its ties with the President fray after it declared its support for opposition figure Anies Baswedan’s 2024 presidential bid.

Effendy Choirie, the head of NasDem’s campaign team, said on Monday that Jokowi had denied “the party’s right” to a Cabinet seat by not appointing another NasDem member as communications minister, reported.

Another party member questioned Jokowi’s decision to pick an unaffiliated figure for the post.

“I’m concerned that people will not be interested in joining political parties anymore. [They might think] it’s better to just be a volunteer instead,” said NasDem deputy chairman Ahmad Ali, as quoted by

Hours after the Monday’s reshuffle, Jokowi met with NasDem Party chair Surya Paloh at the State Palace. Surya said the two did not talk about “formal affairs” such as the Cabinet shake-up, but only “exchanged information”, Antara reported.

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