Vice President Jusuf Kalla has backed President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s decision to retain Golkar Party chairman Airlangga Hartarto as a Cabinet minister despite the President’s previous statements that he would not allow his ministers to double up as political party executives.
In the latest cabinet reshuffle announced on Wednesday, Jokowi retained Airlangga as industry minister. Airlangga took the helm of the party in December sparking speculation that he would be replaced in the Cabinet.
However, Kalla said Airlangga had the ability to do both jobs.
“He (Airlangga) can do the party’s job at night. The case is different with Khofifah who will be in East Java. As he is still in Jakarta, there is time to do both jobs,” he added on Wednesday referring to former Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa who resigned from her post following her bid to run in the East Java gubernatorial elections.
Airlangga’s Golkar colleague secretary-general Idrus Marham has been appointed to replace Khofifah in the Cabinet.
Despite stating that a party chairman could double up as a minister, Kalla suggested that Idrus’ position in the party would be filled.
“A chairman does not have to be at the party’s office every day, but a secretary-general does. The decision to replace Idrus is in Airlangga’s hand,” he said.
Early in his administration, Jokowi vowed that he would not allow his ministers to hold positions at their respective political parties in order to focus on their work in the government.