President Joko Widodo to appoint Indonesia’s next military leader by November, Southeast Asia News and Top Stories
JAKARTA – President Joko Widodo is due to select a new chief of the armed forces by November, when Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto, 57, retires.
The chief of the navy, Admiral Yudo Margono, is believed to be the favorite for the post ahead of the chief of the army, General Andika Perkasa.
Marshal Hadi was appointed in 2017.
The guideline implicit in the past was that the superior commander be alternated between the three military branches. But Mr Widodo in 2015, shortly after taking office, appointed an army general, General Gatot Nurmantyo, to succeed another army officer, General Moeldoko, who would later become the Presidential Chief of Staff.
The Indonesian military is non-partisan and the government has turned to the military, in particular, when tensions escalate nationally – as it did in 2016 with regular protests led by radical Islamist groups. in the streets of Jakarta.
Any serving military leader in Indonesia must retire at the age of 58. Typically and ideally, a military commander remains in office for one to three years, although there have been occasions when someone has served only one year.
Admiral Yudo is due to retire in two years and General Andika in one year. This puts the naval chief in an advantageous position to lead the military, according to many observers.
Defense analyst Andi Widjajanto noted that a member of the Navy did not lead the military during Mr. Widodo’s two terms, the Tempo.co news portal reported.
Mr Widodo was re-elected for a second and final five-year term as President in 2019.
Political observer Ali Nurdin of Mathla’ul Anwar University told the Straits Times that internal security, like the recent rebel attacks in Papua, could tip Widodo towards General Andika. But other incidents of foreign ships encroaching on northern Indonesian waters at Natuna could improve Admiral Yudo’s chances.
Mufti Makarim, senior policy, law, defense and security adviser in the office of the presidential chief of staff, told the Straits Times that Mr Widodo would choose the person who best matches the challenges facing the nation.