Last-Minute Maneuvers as Indonesian Ministers Resign Ahead of Deadline

There was a flurry of activity on Tuesday ahead of a deadline for ministers to decide between Indonesia's House of Representatives and the cabinet, with three resignations and a fourth minister likely to follow them out the door. The law requires ministers elected to the House of Representatives to choose between the legislature and the cabinet, and the General Elections Commission (KPU) gave them until today to make up their minds. Taufik Effendy, the state minister for administrative reform, has submitted his resignation letter, State Secretary Hatta Rajasa said, adding that Jero Wacik, the minister of culture and tourism, has also said he will resign. “We only received a letter from Taufik but some [ministers] are planning on delivering them later,” Hatta said. “Jero Wacik just called to say he will deliver [his letter].” Both ministers are from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party. Lukman Edy, the state minister for the acceleration of development in underdeveloped regions, was quoted by state-run Antara news agency as saying that he had also submitted his resignation. Surya Dharma Ali, the state minister for small and medium enterprises from the United Development Party (PPP), is also planning to tender his resignation letter today, said Fernita Darwis, a PPP campaign team member. “He told me that he will resign near the deadline on Wednesday. So let's see tomorrow,” she said late on Tuesday. Two other ministers — Adhyaksa Dault, the state minister for youth and sport affairs from the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), and Freddy Numberi, the maritime affairs and fisheries minister from the Democratic Party, have already officially withdrawn their candidacies for the House. KPU commissioner Endang Sulastri said Wednesday was the deadline for ministers to decide on their future, but that anyone who did choose to resign could remain in the cabinet until a new one was formed in October. Hatta also said ministers who resigned their government positions could still be appointed to the next cabinet, at Yudhoyono’s discretion. “If the president uses his prerogative right to ask the minister to hold a post in the second round of the United Indonesia Cabinet, then they will be notified,” he said. However, he said the president was still concentrating on formulating the agenda for his next administration and his first 100-day program, and that potential cabinet members would only be discussed in October.

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