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Indonesian president-elect put to test as parties want in

Publication Date : 06-08-2014

 

Indonesian President-elect Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s commitment to non-transactional politics is being put to the test as he is forced to accommodate demands from politicians within his coalition who want a greater say in his newly formed transition team.

Apparently bowing to the pressure, Jokowi is expected to expand the team to make room for more politicians to get involved in managing the transfer of power from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to him.

Jokowi said he was in continuous communication with all parties in his coalition, including the National Awekening Party (PKB), the Hanura Party and the Indonesian Justice and Unity Party (PKPI), which have yet to see representatives in the transition team.

“Of course we will talk to everyone. We want participation from all, not only party politicians but also volunteers as well as the public in general. This is just the initial phase [after the official nomination of the transition team],” Jokowi said.

Jokowi has also decided to appoint three senior advisers tasked with supervising the transition team.

He said that the advisers had professional backgrounds.

Earlier on Monday, Jokowi officially introduced leaders of the team specifically tasked with coming up with lists of programs to be implemented by his administration.

The team comprises chief of staff, former trade minister Rini Mariani Soemarno Soewandi, and her four deputies — Paramadina University rector Anis Baswedan, defence analyst Andi Widjajanto, politician Akbar Faizal from the NasDem Party and Hasto Kristiyanto, deputy secretary-general of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).

Jokowi’s “sudden” announcement of the transition team has not been well-received by politicians in his coalition who feel they have been left out of the process.

Speaking to The Jakarta Post in separate interviews, two politicians, who wish to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the matter, harshly criticised Jokowi for excluding their parties from discussion prior to the announcement of the transition team.

“I was surprised to find out about the team from the media. I was even more surprised to learn that no members of our party were involved in it,” said one of the politicians.

The politician criticised Jokowi for going it alone in forming the transition team.

“The team should have ideally involved representatives from each of the parties within the PDI-P-led coalition because we all had roles in helping Pak Jokowi win the election,” the source said.

Another source shrugged off a request from the Post to discuss the issue at length. “I don’t know. I don’t want to talk about it,” the politician said.

Another politician, who is familiar with Jusuf Kalla’s inner circle, claimed that the vice president-elect himself had little knowledge of the transition team.

“It’s true that the idea [to set up the team] originally came from Pak Jokowi. But, as far as I know, Pak JK [Kalla’s initials] was not involved in the comprehensive discussion of the plan, especially in the days leading to the official announcement,” the source said.

The politician, however, praised the initiative.

“Nevertheless, the establishment of the team is a laudable initiative because it will help prepare the new government,” the source said.

The first in Indonesian history, the transition team, headquartered in Menteng, Central Jakarta, will have four core tasks: organising strategies related to the 2015

state budget, designing the Cabinet, drawing up policies based on the vision and mission that Jokowi and Kalla introduced during their presidential campaign and

accelerating the implementation of programs that are attainable in a short period, such as the Indonesia Pintar (Indonesia Smart) and Indonesia Sehat (Healthy Indonesia) programs.

In addition to preparing programs, the team will also be involved in coming up with a short list of candidates qualified to implement the programs.

Jokowi has also set up a different team specifically tasked with scouting candidates for ministerial posts in his Cabinet.

 

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