Indonesia: Jokowi eyes young guns in next Cabinet

  • President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has expressed his intention to appoint young professionals in his next Cabinet. Campaign chairman Erick Thohir said the incumbent needed the young figures to support his focus on the development of human resources in his second term.
  • As the country awaits the outcome of a lawsuit lodged by rival presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto against Jokowi’s electoral victory, political parties are lobbying Jokowi for ministerial positions.
  • A number of names have been mentioned as options for filling the ministerial seats. Most recently, Jokowi suggested that the chairman of the Association of Young Indonesian Businessmen (HIPMI), Bahlil Lahadalia, was qualified.
  • During his first term in office, Jokowi had to make compromises with political parties in return for their support of his administration. Now, observers have said, he has more freedom to realize his vision and programs, including making personal choices for his Cabinet since political parties backing him are projected to control about 60% of the seats at the legislature.
  • Other young figures that have surfaced as potential candidates are Erick himself and Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI) chairwoman Grace Natalie.
  • Figures from the opposition camp, including Sandiaga Uno, the businessman-turned-politician who was Prabowo’s running mate in the presidential election, and Agus Harimurti, the son of former president and Democratic Party patron Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, have also been touted for Cabinet positions.
  • PDI-P secretary-general Hasto Kristiyanto said the consideration for appointing ministers should not be based on the age of potential ministers but on their capability, quality and readiness.
  • Political expert Djayadi Hanan from Saiful Mujani Research & Consulting (SMRC) mentioned three criteria Jokowi should consider for future ministers: technocratic competence, political skill and communication skill.

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