Jokowi crowdsources his cabinet on Facebook

Jet Damazo-Santos, Hindra L

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Jokowi asks on Facebook: Who should be in my cabinet?

CROWDSOURCED CABINET. President-elect Joko Widodo is seeking public input as he chooses his cabinet.

JAKARTA, Indonesia (UPDATED) – In another first for Indonesia and a perhaps sign of the kind of government Indonesia will have over the next 5 years, President-elect Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is seeking the public’s participation in the selection of his cabinet members. 

The Jokowi Center Facebook page on Thursday, July 23, uploaded a Google form with a list of 3 candidates for each of the 34 ministerial seats. Under each ministry, a box is provided for people to suggest other names. 

“Indonesia’s current political landscape is not only marked by the presence of Jokowi, but also by the emergence of outstanding volunteer participation. Now, volunteers can continue to oversee Jokowi-JK’s political movements in a variety of ways,” the introduction to the list stated. JK refers to Vice president-elect Jusuf Kalla.

“The Jokowi Center and Radio Jokowi decide to take part in the guarding of the process to select ministerial candidates who are considered to be fit by the people. The selection of ministers is the prerogative of the president. But that does not mean people cannot participate.” 

The innovative move is in line with the style of the Jakarta governor, who advocates the use of e-government for transparency and accountability. The president-elect confirmed on Thursday afternoon that his team created the page.

“It’s just asking for inputs. There’s no problem with it, right?” he told reporters at the Jakarta city hall. 

Jokowi is “crowdsourcing” his government, tweeted technology blogger and DailySocial editor Aulia Masna, as others in the Facebook page suggested candidates in the comments section or asked for profiles of the candidates listed. 

Who’s in the list?

The list was put together based on discussions with various groups – activists, intellectuals, journalists, and politicians – according to the introduction to the document. 

Jokowi promised several times during the campaign that he would not trade ministerial seats for political support, however he admitted in a recent interview with Reuters that around 20% of the posts may have to go to parties that supported him. 

The list of 102 names (3 candidates for each of the 34 ministries) includes at least 14 politicians from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), his own party. It also has 3 each from the Nasdem party and National Awakening Party (PKB), and 1 from Hanura, all which supported his candidacy.

Puan Maharani, the daughter of PDI-P chairwoman Megawati Sukarnoputri and who at one point was considered as Jokowi’s running mate, is nominated for the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection. 

PKB chairman Muhaimin Iskandar, who is currently the manpower and transmigration minister, is a candidate for the Coordinating Ministry for People’s Welfare. But he’s up against two strong contenders, both well-regarded bureaucrats: Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, the head of the President’s Delivery Unity for Development, Monitoring and Oversight (UKP4), and Alwi Shihab, who held that post from 2004-2005.

The list also has a few politicians from the parties that supported his rival, Prabowo Subianto and running mate Hatta Rajasa, as well as some businessmen and technocrats perceived to be close to them. There are also a number of incumbent or former ministers under President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, whose Democratic Party supported Prabowo.

For instance, incumbent Coordinating Minister for the Economy Chairul Tanjung – one of Indonesia’s richest men perceived to be close to Yudhoyono and Hatta – is again nominated for the same post. The two other candidates – State-Owned Enterprises Minister Dahlan Iskan and former Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan – are both succesful Indonesian businessmen as well, and both participants in Democratic convention that sought to find a presidential candidate for the party.

Well-respected Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa is nominated for his post again, which many have predicted. Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Mari Pangestu is on the list for her old post at the Trade Ministry, and Bank Indonesia Governor Agus Martowardojo for his old job as finance minister.

There are several technocrats, including Jokowi advisors, and well-respected government officials on the list too. Paramadina University rector Anies Baswedan, a close adviser during the campaign, was expected to be named education minister but is instead nominated for the Youth Affairs and Sports Ministry. The executive director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Rizal Sukma, Jokowi’s foreign policy adviser, is nominated for the Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration, along with PDI-P politician Rieke Dyah Pitaloka. 

Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) commissioner Abraham Samad is nominated for the Home Affairs Ministry. “I thank you for the nomination. It comes from the people who appreciate (the work of) KPK, not Abraham Samad. We should thank the people who have 100 percent trust in KPK. For the time being, we can’t make any comment (on the nomination) as we are still concentrating on bigger cases,” he said.

Others are academics like transportation expert and Gadjah Madah University professor Danang Parikesit, who told Rappler he was not aware he was being considered. When asked if he was open to the position, he said “as loyal citizens of this country, we should all be ready if called upon by the president”.  

There are also artists on the list, such as film producer Mira Lesmana who is a candidate for the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry, and conductor Addie MS, who’s up against Anies for the youth affairs post.

Curiously, PDI-P politician and former minister for maritime and fisheries affairs Rokhmin Dahuri, who was convicted for corruption in 2009 and spent more than two years in jail, is one of the three names listed for the same ministry.

“This is testing the water. Jokowi wants the public to put attention on those names, and for those names to be criticized,” R. Siti Zuhro, a political analyst at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), said. 

“Personally I think the list is still fat. There will be 34 ministerials post, just like President Yudhoyono’s administration, but I think there are some ministries which can be combined.” –

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