Saturday, May 23, 2015Saturday, May 23, 2015
Zakir Hussain

Indonesia's next V-P will be an old hand

Published on May 27, 2014 3:40 PM
Mr Joko (left) and his running mate Mr Kalla holding Indonesia's national flag during a declaration as presidential and vice-presidential candidates in Jakarta on Monday last week. The next vice-president will be a seasoned politician with much more experience compared with the president. -- PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

IN FEBRUARY 2009, two weeks after Mr Joe Biden was sworn in as US President Barack Obama's No. 2, Indonesia's then Vice-President Jusuf Kalla was the first foreign leader to call on him at the White House.

Mr Biden asked after the Indonesian economy, and was told it was in good shape, Mr Kalla recounted to Indonesian reporters accompanying him on the trip.

"In that case, let's just trade places. You be vice-president here and I'll be vice-president in Indonesia," Mr Biden reportedly said.

But a few months after that lighthearted encounter, Mr Kalla was dropped as President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's No. 2. Their partnership, marked by increasing friction over Mr Kalla's independent ways, had broken down irretrievably.

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!