THEJAKARTAPOST.COM – As rival parties slowly crystallize into an opposition to match the incoming government of president-elect Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, his political allies are calling for a significant presence in the Cabinet.
A politician from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), Puan Maharani, said the president-elect should pay attention to the parties that had nominated him in this year’s presidential election.
“We understand that the president-elect has the right to design the Cabinet. But of course we hope that he will also pay attention to the candidates endorsed by the parties that officially supported him,” said the PDI-P lawmaker on the sidelines of a House of Representatives plenary meeting on Tuesday.
The PDI-P led a coalition of four political parties that supported the nomination of Jokowi and his running mate Jusuf Kalla in the July 9 presidential election.
After securing victory at the Constitutional Court last week, there has been pressure on Jokowi to woo support from the rival Red-and-White Coalition, which had supported the presidential ticket of Prabowo Subianto-Hatta Rajasa, which has a majority of seats at the House of Representatives.
Jokowi’s coalition, also known as the Gotong Royong Coalition, only secured slightly more than a third of 560 seats at the House in the April legislative election.
The major members of the Red-and-White Coalition, namely the Democratic Party and the Golkar Party, have so far kept their promise to not join Jokowi’s government.
Committed to avoiding President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s old practice of offering ministerial posts to create a coalition with supporting political parties, the Jakarta governor had earlier frequently expressed his commitment to only picking professionals in his Cabinet.
He, the PDI-P and the NasDem Party formed a team to prepare his programs and Cabinet design, leaving out other allies such as the National Awakening Party (PKB) and the Hanura Party.
“We were surprised by the announcement [of the transition team]. We thought we had been left behind,” PKB chairman and Manpower and Transmigration Minister Muhaimin Iskandar said on Tuesday.
“We [feel better] because now we have contacts with Hasto and Anies,” Muhaimin added, referring to Hasto Kristiyanto and Anies Baswedan, two of the four deputies of the transition team.
Another politician from the Gotong Royong Coalition, who required anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, warned that the partnership among coalition members applied not only in the House but also in government.
“Why should we, in [the House], support the government if we have no place in the Cabinet? Including party politicians both in the House and the government will make the collaboration stronger,” the source told The Jakarta Post.
Analysts believe Jokowi and Kalla have no choice but to involve party politicians in the Cabinet, but they suggest carefully choosing the candidates.
“Unlike previous presidents, who headed their parties, Pak Jokowi is not the sole chief in making the final decision. There are several strong figures, such as [PDI-P chief] Ibu Megawati [Soekarnoputri], who also have a say in the matter,” political analyst Arya Budi from the Jakarta-based Pol-Tracking Institute told the Post.
Arya added that to find a win-win comprise, Jokowi and Kalla should ensure that ministerial candidates from political parties fulfilled the requirements, from having clear track records to integrity.
Djayadi Hanan from Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting (SMRC), meanwhile, suggested that a compromise might be achieved by giving bigger portions of ministerial posts to non-party candidates.