Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Indonesia's confusing politics - Jokowi Must Get His Head in the Game

Indonesia's confusing politics - Jokowi Must Get His Head in the Game

Now that Prabowo Subianto’s Red-White Coalition, also known as the KMP, has seized control of both the House of Representatives and the People’s Consultative Assembly, President-elect Joko Widodo’s camp must quickly decide whether to direct their efforts on governing through effective policies or boost their campaign to lure members of the opposition to their side.

The first option would require Joko to choose the best possible candidates for his cabinet. It is high time for Joko’s camp to take matters seriously as the assembly known as MPR, which has the power to amend the Constitution and impeach the president, can turn into a vehicle for Prabowo and his followers to get rid of the “people’s president” and scrap the election system. This would allow them to give Prabowo the one thing he has fought tooth and nail to obtain: the presidency. We must stop underestimating the former general’s single-minded tenacity and prepare for the worst.

One way to minimize the threat of impeachment is for Joko to allocate two ministerial positions to each of the parties in his coalition, which means only eight posts will be held by active politicians, while the remaining 26 will be taken up by technocrats, professionals and academics.

His party’s chairwoman, Megawati Soekarnoputri from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), must realize that this is the only way Joko can stay in control of the presidency.

The second option is now becoming highly expensive. While courting Golkar will immediately destroy KMP, Joko needs to provide probably five or six cabinet seats for the party with a possibility that the party’s chairman, Aburizal Bakrie, may ask for trillions of rupiah taken from the state budget to pay for mudflow victims in Sidoarjo. It’s a cost that Joko and the Indonesian people can’t afford to bear. By Jakarta Globe



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