JAKARTA, (Reuters) – Indonesian President Joko Widodo yesterday buckled to pressure and dropped his candidate for police chief after weeks of public outcry over the nominee’s implication in a bribery scandal.
Widodo’s indecisiveness after the nominee, Budi Gunawan, was named a corruption suspect, had led many supporters to question the new president’s anti-graft credentials and his readiness to take on powerful vested interests in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy and one of its most corrupt countries.
“Today, we put forward a new candidate to parliament for approval,” Widodo told reporters at the presidential palace, adding that his new candidate was interim police chief Badrodin Haiti.
Last month, the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) named Gunawan a suspect in a bribery case, forcing the president to delay his appointment. In apparent retaliation, the police have since declared the KPK’s chief, Abraham Samad, and his deputy, Bambang Widjojanto, as suspects in different criminal cases, and have threatened to investigate other top agency officials.