President Jokowi non-committal when asked if Ahok could be appointed minister

President Joko Widodo (L) and Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnomo. Photo: Youtube
President Joko Widodo (L) and Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnomo. Photo: Youtube

Despite losing in the polls in the Jakarta governor race, many still hope and believe that Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama still has a lot to give to this nation. As such, rumors have been swirling that it’s very likely that President Joko Widodo, more popularly known as Jokowi, will appoint his close political ally to a ministerial post.

When asked about the matter yesterday, Jokowi neither confirmed nor denied the rumors.

“Pak Ahok is still the governor of Jakarta at this moment, until October,” Jokowi said, as quoted by Kompas.

This is as strong an indication as any that Ahok will serve under Jokowi’s cabinet after the end of his term in Jakarta. To add more weight to the rumors, Jokowi recently said that he has no problem replacing underperforming ministers in his cabinet, which analysts see as a sign that yet another cabinet reshuffle is in the cards soon.

Sandiaga Uno, vice governor-elect of Jakarta according to unofficial results from last week’s election and running mate of Ahok’s rival Anies Baswedan, said he supports the idea of Ahok becoming minister because he’s one of “the nation’s best sons.”

Lawmaker Fadli Zon, who was often at the forefront of the movement to criminalize Ahok for blasphemy during the election campaign, said Jokowi has the right to appoint whomever he wants as minister but warned that there would be “risks” in appointing Ahok.

Ahok has been strongly linked in the media to the Home Affairs Minister post, meaning he could potentially replace current minister Tjahjo Kumolo. Other provinces seem to want a piece of him too, like Bali, whose netizens have started a petition to have Ahok become their governor next year.

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