JAKARTA - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has expressed his support for the establishment of a transition team by Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, confirming that the president-elect will immediately be preoccupied with high-profile meetings at an international forum soon after being sworn in on Oct. 20.
Drawing on his own experience, Yudhoyono said that Jokowi would soon face a range of duties and challenges upon his inauguration.
"In October, our new president will be sworn in. A month later, he will start participating at global events. In this context, the president-elect needs good preparation," the outgoing President said in a statement posted on his YouTube channel on Friday.
Yudhoyono added, however, that he and the members of his Cabinet would for the time being hold off on working with Jokowi's transition team, given that the Constitutional Court had yet to declare Jokowi as the official winner of the presidential election.
Yudhoyono said it would be "unethical" for him and his ministers to join Jokowi's transition efforts at a time when the court was still hearing the challenge to the election's result, filed by defeated candidate Prabowo Subianto of the Gerindra Party.
The President said that Jokowi, however, had every right to establish the transition team.
"We assume that Pak Jokowi will be elected president and that the Constitutional Court will declare Pak Jokowi as the country's elected president. Therefore, I believe the [formation of the transition team] is not an issue," he said.
One of transition team's deputies, Anies Baswedan, praised Yudhoyono for his support.
"The idea of forming the transition office reflects Pak Jokowi's ability to take responsibility for forming a government of the people," Anies said on Friday.
Another transition team deputy, Hasto Kristiyanto, said the team had formed a task force to devise Jokowi's vision and strategy on diplomacy and international cooperation.
On Friday, the transition team invited supporters and volunteers of the Jokowi-Jusuf Kalla presidential ticket to meet with the president-elect.
"Aside from having a post-Idul Fitri celebration during the meeting, we asked for their input," Hasto said.
On Monday, Jokowi introduced the members of his transition team, the first in the country's history.
The team, led by former president director of PT Astra International and trade minister Rini Mariani Soemarno, has faced some criticism.
Prabowo's camp said the formation of the team was an insult given the ongoing legal battle over the election result at the Constitutional Court.
The team has also been criticised by some of Jokowi's coalition partners, arguing that they were excluded from the process.
Hasto, who is also Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) deputy secretary-general, shrugged off the criticism, however.
"The transition team is only preparing a basic foundation for the programs that the next government will prioritize. These will be implemented after the Constitutional Court hands down its verdict," he said.
Four days into its work and the team has formed a number of working groups to tackle a range of issues, such as the state budget; the Indonesia Sehat (Healthy Indonesia) programme; improving the welfare of Indonesian fishermen and farmers; bureaucratic reform; public housing; energy, and public transportation.