JAKARTA, Indonesia – With about 11 weeks to go before he assumes the highest post in the land, President-elect Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s preparations for his new job kicked into high gear, even as his rival stepped up efforts to challenge the election results.
Jokowi on Monday announced the creation of a 5-person transition team led by economist Rini Mariani Soemarno, the minister for industry and trade under former President Megawati Sukarnoputri, who is also chair of Jokowi’s political party, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).
“The function is to prepare strategic matters related to planning for 2015,” Jokowi said when he announced the team, according to Kompas.com. The team will also ensure the readiness of the institutions under the president and the vice president, such as the cabinet, as well as how to implement their 9-point program dubbed Nawa Cita.
Included in the team are two politicians – PDI-P deputy secretary general Hasto Kristiyanto and Akbar Faizal from Nasdem party, which also supported Jokowi’s presidential bid – and two advisers during the campaign – Paramadina University president Anies Baswedan and international relations expert Andi Widjajanto.
PDI-P secretary general Tjahjo Kumolo clarified, however, that the team would not select cabinet members, as Jokowi himself will decide on those. The team instead would set priorities over the short term and medium term to ensure the new government hits the ground running after the Oct. 20 inauguration.
Yudhoyono says wait
While praising the creation of the transition team, however, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said it was better to wait for the decision of the Constitutional Court on former general Prabowo Subianto’s petition challenging the election results.
“A transition team that handles the handover of power from the current president to his successor is one of my ideas. Thus (Jokowi’s move) is good indeed,” the outgoing president told reporters on Monday, adding that there was no such transition from the previous government when he first took office in 2004.
“However, (Jokowi) should wait until Constitutional Court decides who the president-elect and vice president-elect are. After this, I will proactively communicate with the president-elect,” he said.
Yudhoyono did not formally endorse a presidential candidate, however the ruling Democratic Party sided with Prabowo.
The Constitutional Court will hold its initial hearing on Prabowo’s petition on Wednesday, Aug. 6, and is expected to issue a verdict after 14 days. The lawsuit alleges massive, structural and systemic fraud in 52,000 polling stations across Indonesia, affecting 21 million votes.
“There’s nothing wrong with Jokowi’s transition team as long as this team understands the political consequence if, say, Jokowi and (vice president-elect) Jusuf Kalla lose,” R. Siti Zuhro, a political analyst at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), told Rappler.
Criminal case, too
But the camp of Prabowo and running mate Hatta Rajasa also upped its game on Monday, this time reporting the head of Indonesia’s General Elections Commission (KPU) to the police for “misusing his authority” when he instructed local election commissions to open ballot boxes.
Prabowo-Hatta winning team secretary Fadli Zon said what KPU head Husni Kamil Manik did was a crime. “The opening of ballot boxes is part of the destruction of evidence in the presidential election which is being disputed in the Constitutional Court,” he said in a statement sent to Rappler.
He added they had evidence to support their claim – including news reports – but had no data on exactly how many ballot boxes were opened. He also claimed it happened massively throughout Indonesia.
The latest developments come at the tail-end of Indonesia’s most divisive race for the presidency. The tight election, however, also led to it becoming the most transparent and participative in Indonesia’s history, with the KPU uploading on its website the tabulation sheets from almost 480,000 polling centers and volunteers performing parallel counts alongside the official count.
Analysts point to this transparency, as well as the fact that KPU’s results were consistent with credible election day quick counts, as the reason it is unlikely Prabowo’s legal challenge would succeed.
Yudhoyono, who previously asked the divided country to wait for and respect the KPU’s decision, said on Monday that this Constitutional Court challenge was the last stage of the electoral process.
He said he hoped that Constitutional Court – which was tainted when its former chief was jailed for fixing election disputes – would carry out its job with accountability, credibility and transparency.
“We need to ensure that everything is democratic and peaceful,” Yudhoyono said. – Rappler.com
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