What’s next for Indonesia?

Jet Damazo-Santos, Hindra L

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

A legal challenge from Prabowo, political realignments, and the formation of a new cabinet are what's in store

BACK TO WORK.  Indonesian president-elect Joko Widodo (C) answers questions from the media at the Jakarta city hall on July 23, 2014 He returns to work after the General Elections Commission declared him the winner of the presidential elections.  Photo by Bay Ismoyo / AFP

JAKARTA, Indonesia – On Wednesday morning, July 23, just a few hours after Joko “Jokowi” Widodo was declared the 7th president of Indonesia, he arrived at the Jakarta city hall to report back for work as the governor of the capital.

Following a highly divisive presidential campaign and tense electoral process, the next 3 months will see Jokowi return to work in Jakarta while preparing for his new job. At the same time, the camp of former general Prabowo will press on with its legal challenge of the election results. 

This is what we will likely see over the next 3 months:

1 Prabowo’s legal challenge

Candidates are given 72 hours to contest the election results, and so Prabowo’s camp, the which considers 21 million votes to be in dispute, has until 9:04 pm on Friday, July 25, to file a challenge with the Constitutional Court (Mahkamah Konstitusi or MK ).

Prabowo team spokesman Tantowi said on Wednesday a challenge would be filed within 3 days, and that it would be directed at the General Election Commission (KPU), which Prabowo has accused of mishandling the vote.

If the petition for a review of KPU’s decision filed by Prabowo’s camp does not meet the formal requirements, the court will give it another 24 hours to submit a revision.

If the petition is accepted, the Constitutional Court is expected to hold its inaugural session on August 6. A decision is then expected after 14 working days.

Even if the Court agrees to hear the petition, it is unlikely to cast strong doubt on the legitimacy of Jokowi’s win. KPU declared Jokowi and running mate Jusuf Kalla the winners with 53.15% of the vote, representing a lead of about 8.4 million votes.

“Given the latest developments, I think his challenge will not affect the outcome of the election,” said Philips Vermonte, an analyst from the think tank CSIS. “It depends on what they can provide evidence as the basis for their challenge, but I do not think they have the evidence needed.”

The worry was that a legal challenge would create more uncertainty for investors, but the fact that the KPU results confirmed the findings of Indonesia’s credible quick counts appears to be enough for markets. After sliding on Tuesday following Prabowo’s rejection of the results, the rupiah rallied on Wednesday morning.

“It remains unclear if Prabowo has any legal grounds to challenge the election commission. But it is certain that we now have a president-elect in Indonesia,” Singapore’s DBS research group said in a note on Wednesday.

2 Coalition changes

Jokowi was only supported by four parties during the campaign, as opposed to 6 for Prabowo. But with the declaration of Jokowi as president-elect, negotiations to change the political party alignments are expected to go into full swing. By the time the new legislature opens in October, Jokowi likely will already have the support of the majority.

Prabowo’s camp could see as many as 4 of the 6 parties that support it try to wiggle their way out of the “permanent coalition” they have. (READ: Prabowo’s ‘permanent coalition’ looking tenuous )

Golkar Party, the second largest party in the House of Representatives, has always been seen as divided. The party is widely expected to hold an extraordinary national congress to elect a new chairman who will lead the party back to the winning side.

The ruling Democratic Party, which did not send a representative to the formal announcement of Prabowo’s permanent coalition, has also been sending feelers out. Justice Minister Amir Syamsuddin, the chairman of the party’s board, said on Wednesday many Democrats were interested in siding with the winner and that they they are “ready to adapt.”

Dimyati Natakusumah, the deputy chairman of the United Development Party (PPP), for example, also said last week that they’re ready to support Jokowi and his running mate Jusuf Kalla and join their cabinet if they win.

Even the National Mandate Party (PAN), the party of Prabowo’s running mate Hatta Rajasa, has been distancing itself. Hatta was notably absent during Prabowo’s press conference on Tuesday to reject the election results, and there were reports of PAN planning a separate press conference later that day. In fact, Hanafi Rais, the son of PAN co-founder Amien Rais, on Sunday already congratulated Jokowi and Kalla.

3 Jokowi preparations

For his part, Jokowi is expected to begin putting together his cabinet under close scrutiny from a public expecting a different kind of governance from him. 

There have been some speculations on who his cabinet will include, such as Paramadina University president and a close advisor Anies Baswedan for the education post, but Jokowi maintained throughout the campaign that he would not trade ministerial seats for political support.

Reuters reported, however, that Jokowi acknowledged in a recent interview for the first time that around 20% of his cabinet will likely be political appointments from parties that backed him.

Jokowi is also expected to prepare for his new job. A special office to help with the transition had already been set up, he said.

In terms of administrative matters, Jokowi has to formally resign from his position as the governor of Jakarta, and the local legislature has to accept it.

The only rule is that this has to happen before October 20, the day Jokowi is set to be inaugurated as Indonesia’s next president. – with reports from Agence France-Presse / Rappler.com


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