Indonesia’s new president seeks crowdsourced help in picking new ministers


President elect Joko Widodo

The election is over in Indonesia, and Joko Widodo has now become the country’s president elect. As one of his first acts as the new president, he needs to find and appoint new cabinet ministers for the coming term. Embracing democracy, Widodo is gathering feedback from the citizens about their choice of ministers.

Two websites are taking on the initiative by conducting online polls regarding Widodo’s new cabinet: Jokowi Center and Kabinet Rakyat. Both websites are created by volunteers, and both claim that they have consulted with numerous people from different circles like journalists, activists, politicians, and students to come up with potential minister names. Indonesians so far have welcomed both initiatives with open arms.

Jokowi Center’s online poll launched first, and the website went down after receiving 18,000 users on its first day. The team had to momentarily redirect users to a Google Docs page, but the site is now back up for all to see. Yesterday the website’s Facebook page announced that it has taken over 85,000 data entries.


Kabinet Rakyat’s online poll

Kabinet Rakyat’s online poll looks better than Jokowi Center’s. While the latter discloses only the names on the poll, the former also puts in the short bio and past achievements of the ministry candidates it lists out on the site.

See: 5 things you need to know about Indonesia’s election tech fighters

Kabinet Rakyat got hacked and went down for a couple days, but it is now back up. Adian Napitupulu, a fellow politician from Widodo’s party and one of the guys behind Kabinet Rakyat told Gatra two days ago that the site receives about 1,700 visitors every hour. The site recorded 43,000 visitors up until July 30th, 12,000 of them also voted in the poll.

This is a very transparent way whereby people from across the nation can cast their vote and make sure that at the very least, Widodo won’t elect someone with a murky past. Indonesia Corruption Watch, for example, is highlighting the track records of all the names listed on Jokowi Center. They will list out the pros and cons of each candidate, and will release the report this month.

Widodo told Jakarta Globe last week that he is indeed asking for input for his upcoming cabinet ministers. He adds, “[The suggestions] will be processed by a team, using a set of criteria. Then, [the results] will be sent to coalition members, before being sent back to the [Jokowi Center] team. The final decision will be on me.” Kabinet Rakyat – with Napitupulu’s connection with Widodo’s party – will make sure that Widodo considers its online poll results as well.

Indonesia’s political scene is taking on the internet wholeheartedly these days. The General Elections Commissions recently opened its vote tally documents to the public, prompting numerous initiatives to count the vote together, and afterwards the Constitutional Court also disclosed president candidate Prabowo Subianto’s appeal documents regarding the official election result.

(Photo from Jokowi Center’s Facebook page)

Editing by J.T. Quigley and Steven Millward
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