President Joko Widodo inaugurated his backup choice as Indonesia’s police chief after a public spat involving the anti-graft agency that threatened to tarnish Widodo’s image as being tough on corruption.
Badrodin Haiti, who was previously acting police chief, was sworn in by Widodo, known as Jokowi, on Friday in a televised ceremony. He was approved by the parliament on Thursday.
Tensions between the police and anti-graft agency the KPK have overshadowed Jokowi’s initial months in office and contributed to his falling popularity, at a time he’s seeking support for his economic reforms. Jokowi’s first pick for police chief, Budi Gunawan, was named a graft suspect by the KPK shortly after he was announced as the nominee, though his case did not proceed to court.
In retaliation for Gunawan’s probe, police announced investigations of two KPK leaders, Abraham Samad and Bambang Widjojanto, leading to their temporary dismissal from the agency. Gunawan was formerly a personal adjutant of Megawati Soekarnoputri, who heads the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, or PDI-P, that backed Jokowi.
Public satisfaction with Jokowi fell to 42.3 percent 100 days into a term that began in late October, from 71.7 percent in August, according to a poll conducted in January by Lingkaran Survei Indonesia that reached 1,200 respondents.
The KPK was formed in 2003 to take on high-level corruption cases. Since then it has prosecuted 72 members of parliament, six central bankers and dozens of CEOs, earning it the support of ordinary Indonesians.