Indonesia Anticipates Prabowo’s Cabinet

Prabowo Subianto and Gibran Rakabuming Raka will be sworn in as the country’s new president and vice president in less than six months, securing approximately 96.2 million votes, about 58.59 percent of the total votes cast, according to Jakarta Globe.

Ahead of the inauguration ceremony, the public is hoping that the president-elect will truly implement what he has promised, including providing free school lunches and carrying on Jokowi’s policies. Indonesia is also seeking to achieve a “golden era” by 2045 as envisioned by Jokowi. This calls for a solid Prabowo-Gibran cabinet.

On many occasions, Jokowi said that the next 10 years would be pivotal to determining whether the 2045 Golden Indonesia vision could come true. Jokowi said he would support his successor’s prerogative to select his ministers. The outgoing president also vowed he would not meddle in its formation but would be open to providing inputs if asked by Prabowo-Gibran, says Jakarta Globe.

“Establishing the cabinet is entirely the president’s prerogative … It is up to the president-elect [to form his cabinet]. There’s nothing wrong if I’m asked to give some recommendations. But if they don’t ask and we meddle in the [cabinet formation], that’s not allowed,” Jokowi said not long ago.

Chief Investment Affairs Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan told Prabowo that he should be careful not to pick “toxic people” as his ministers. “To the president-elect, I said ‘Don’t bring toxic people to your administration’ because it is going to hurt us very much. I’m a strong believer that the president-elect can do a lot of things for this country to be better in the future,” Luhut said at the Jakarta Futures Forum last week.

Jakarta Globe reports that after the Constitutional Court’s ruling, political party elites from the rival teams began to maneuver into Prabowo’s team. This includes Surya Paloh who chairs the National Democratic Party (Nasdem) – the party nominating runner-up Anies.

Prabowo, who also chairs the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), had reiterated that he would be open to working with the rival teams in the incoming government, even saying that having all forces join together would enable “a powerful and effective government” amid today’s global dynamics.

“This election is over, now our task together is how to move forward to develop the country, while we cannot ignore the dynamics and challenges of the world to us,” Surya Paloh told the press, shortly after meeting Prabowo.

Muhaimin Iskandar, Anies’s running mate and chairman of the National Awakening Party (PKB), also revealed his party’s readiness to support the incoming government.

“Both PKB and Gerindra have worked together at the parliament and executive government. So, we want to ramp up this productive partnership. Especially with President-Elect Prabowo Subianto who will face a challenging development agenda,” Muhaimin said at the press conference after meeting Prabowo.

According to Jakarta Globe, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) have not decided whether they would join the coalition or become an opposition to the future Prabowo government. On April 27, PDI-P’s secretary-general Hasto Kristiyanto said it would be up to the party’s chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri to pick the party’s directions. PDI-P is set to determine its political directions later this month, including what sort of strategic steps it will undertake after the election.

Likewise, PKS fraction chair Jazuli Suwaini said that its direction would depend on the result of its grand summit.

Prior to the Constitutional Court’s ruling, the political parties in Prabowo’s Advanced Indonesia Coalition had secured 280 out of 580 seats in the House of Representatives. As many as 102 seats go to Golkar. Followed by Gerindra (86), the National Mandate Party or PAN (48), and the Democratic Party (44). This means that Prabowo-Gibran still needs the support of at least one more party to get strong parliamentary support. The breakdown of the parliamentary seats for parties outside the coalition is as follows: PDI-P 110; Nasdem 69; PKB 68; and PKS 53, according to Jakarta Globe.

With the right coalition, Prabowo-Gibran would not need to invite PDI-P and PKS to be part of their team, according to Arya Budi, the research director at Poltracking Indonesia.

Arya said that having PKB and Nasdem in the coalition would be enough, as the executive power or the president would only require half of the parliamentary support. He also warned that having too many parties in the coalition would complicate things.

“Prabowo and Gibran will be busy consolidating the government, especially in terms of dividing the ministerial seats,” Arya said.

But a giant coalition would make it hard for the so-called “zaken cabinet”, according to Siti Zuhro, a professor at the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN). The “zaken cabinet” is an Indonesian term for a cabinet represented by technocrats and professionals. The appointment of ministers is not affected by political party representation.

This will enable the ministers to focus on their jobs without having to worry about their respective political parties’ agendas. The law states that the government shall have no more than 34 ministries. If Prabowo wants to accommodate all coalition parties, that would require some changes to the existing law, Siti said.

Jakarta Globe says that the most sought-after strategic positions among political parties are typically the finance minister, home affairs minister, and foreign minister. With a large coalition, having to divide the ministerial posts among the political parties would be inevitable. Siti said that increasing the number of vice ministers would be a possible option if changes to the law could not be made.

Ujang Komarudin, the executive director of Indonesia Political Review, said that the larger the coalition, the fewer technocrats joining the cabinet. Ujang said: “There is no free lunch in Indonesian politics. Joining the coalition will guarantee [the political party] a ministerial seat.”

A cabinet shall have half of the ministers coming from political party representatives, while the rest are professionals. “Ideally, professionals should make up 60 percent of the ministerial composition, while 40 percent are political parties. But in the end, it is Prabowo’s prerogative to decide who gets to be his minister.”

According to Ujang, Prabowo is likely to “proportionally” prioritize political party representatives in his cabinet, depending on the party’s respective contribution to his election win. Gerindra will possibly earn the largest share in the cabinet, followed by supporting parties who earn a large share at the House of Representatives: Golkar, PAN, and the Democratic Party. Former rivals PKB and Nasdem will likely get the least of ministerial posts, says Jakarta Globe.

Jokowi’s relations with PDI-P have gone sour after the former is seen as the most influential figure behind Prabowo-Gibran’s election win. Ujang said: “PDI-P is likely to get a ministerial post offer, but I think PDI-P will insist on taking the opposition route.”

Hanta Yuda, the executive director at Poltracking Indonesia, said that the foreign minister, home affairs minister, and defence minister would be the three “strategic positions”. Prabowo will pay attention to who gets this seat, as the three will take over the responsibility of the president or vice president in case they cannot carry out their duties.

Hanta said that the current Home Affairs Minister Tito Karnavian would possibly maintain his position, considering his close ties with Prabowo and Jokowi. Prabowo will likely pick Sjafrie Sjamsoedin to be Indonesia’s next defence minister. Sjafrie is currently a special advisor at the Defence Ministry.

“The next foreign minister can be anyone, but I doubt it would be political party representatives taking this post,” Hanta said.

It is unlikely for Prabowo to appoint political party representatives to lead the ministries of the state-owned enterprises, minerals, finance, and the state secretariat. Hanta stated: “These positions are directly related to the people’s interest and are at the center of the president’s power.”

Andi Mallarangeng, a senior official at the Democratic Party, last week said that Prabowo and Gibran had not made a final decision on the cabinet yet. This cabinet includes the formation of a state revenue agency separate from the Finance Ministry. There are also plans to separate the environment ministry from that of forestry.

As Indonesia waits for Prabowo’s cabinets, different versions of the upcoming cabinet circulated on social media not long ago. Gerindra’s deputy chairwoman Rahayu Saraswati Djojohadikusumo said that Prabowo had not made any final decision.

“There are talks [regarding the cabinet composition] at the leadership level. But once again, there are no official decisions yet regarding the ministers,” Rahayu, who is also Prabowo’s niece, said while arguing the final list will likely come out sometime near the inauguration ceremony.

Vice-president-elect Gibran also told the public to be patient with the 2024 to 2029 cabinet announcement.

“Just wait for the final composition. We have agreed to minimize the learning and adaptation processes in this transition period. So once the inauguration ceremony takes place, we can immediately get to work,” Gibran said last week.


Source: Jakarta Globe, Celvin Moniaga Sipahutar, Hendro Dahlan Situmorang, Ichsan Ali, Jayanty Nada Shofa, Medikantyo Juandika Adhikresna, Yustinus Patris Paat also contributed to the story.

Stock photo by Dino Januarsa on Unsplash

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