Indonesia's president-elect prepares for transition

Indonesia's president-elect prepares for transition
Prabowo Subianto.

While losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto scrambles to refute the result of the July 9 presidential election, president-elect Joko "Jokowi" Widodo is beginning to shape the transfer of power from the current administration.

As the Jakarta governor prepares his Cabinet lineup, he has also prepared a team, which he describes as a "bridging team" tasked with listing programs to be implemented during his five-year term in office.

The team, slated to be introduced on Monday, is composed of professionals that could also shape his new administration.

"The transition team will work from the same office as our head-hunter team but both will have their own distinctive job descriptions," Jokowi said on Sunday while inspecting the Ria Rio Reservoir in East Jakarta.

He said the transition team would focus on comprehensively identifying the problems that Indonesia was facing as well as the challenges that his administration would face, while the head-hunter team would reach out and assess individuals for ministerial posts in his Cabinet.

The General Elections Commission (KPU) declared Jokowi and his running mate, Jusuf Kalla, as the winners of the presidential election on July 22, securing 53.15 per cent of around 133 million votes nationwide. His rival, Prabowo, is pursuing all available legal means to contest the result, which saw Jokowi-Kalla win by 8 million votes.

Jokowi is set to be sworn in on Oct. 20, ending the term of outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who has held the presi-dency for a decade.

Presidential special aide for economic affairs Firmanzah said the Yudhoyono administration would still be in charge of drafting the 2015 state budget, scheduled to be announced on Aug. 16.

But he noted that the current administration had arranged the budget based on general patterns in the previous year and the new administration could include new programs in its revision.

Tjahjo Kumolo, the secretary-general of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), said the transition team would set the priorities to be achieved by Jokowi's administration in a time frame.

"The team will translate the vision and mission [of Jokowi and Kalla] into achievable programs according to a time scale so that Pak Jokowi and Pak Kalla, along with the Cabinet, can directly work as soon as both are inaugurated [on Oct. 20]," Tjahjo said, adding that the new administration would continue the successful programs of the current government.

Jokowi and Kalla compiled their vision and mission in the "Nawacita", which is Sanskrit for "nine programs", in which the pair revealed their commitment to building the country in various sectors, including the economy, education and culture.

The programs include improvements in infrastructure and education.

A legal and political expert from the Bandung-based Parahyangan Catholic University (Unpar), Asep Warlan Yusuf, applauded the "unusual" establishment of the transition team, which he believed would effectively help the work of the new government.

"A transition team is a good idea. It will help prepare the next administration so that all programs are well planned," Asep Warlan said.

Constitutional expert Margarito Kamis, however, criticised the idea, saying the team may not contribute much, as the new administration would only continue programs arranged by the current government.

"The government will have completed the state budget, for example, by the time the next president and vice president are inaugurated," Margarito said.

He said, however, that the team could still work on an ad hoc basis to provide input to the government, as that would only concern management.

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