Rini Mariani Soemarno Soewandi '80 Will Help Manage Transfer of Power

August 6, 2014
Rini Mariani Soemarno Soewandi '80 and Jokowi Widodo

In July, Indonesia held its third presidential election, the world’s largest election for a single office. President-elect Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has now officially introduced a transition team to help manage the transfer of power after his swearing-in ceremony on October 20, and has appointed Rini Mariani Soemarno Soewandi '80 to lead it.

Soewandi, who studied economics at Wellesley, told the Jakarta Post that the team “had a number of core tasks: organizing strategies related to the 2015 state budget; designing the Cabinet; drawing up policies based on the vision and mission that Jokowi and Kalla introduced during their presidential campaign.” 

Soewandi’s job is no small task. “One of the issues that distinguished the candidates during the presidential debates was the appointment of the cabinet,” wrote Christopher Candland, associate professor of political science, who is in Indonesia conducting research this summer. “Joko Widodo declared that his cabinet, in a break with past practice, would not be made up of leaders of the political parties that support him but rather of people with the best credentials. Among the tasks that President-elect Jokowi has entrusted to the transition team, headed by Rini Soewandi, is helping to identify and recruit the most capable people for the new cabinet.”

The transition team will also work on program implementation, launching programs to include Indonesia Pintar (Indonesia Smart), which aims to increase education levels through free 12-year compulsory education, and Indonesia Sehat (Indonesia Healthy), which aims to provide free medical checkups and treatment.

In a separate article in the Jakarta Post, President-elect Jokowi said, “The transition team would focus on comprehensively identifying the problems that Indonesia was facing as well as the challenges that his administration would face.”

Soewandi was Minister of Trade and Industry under President Megawati Sukarnoputri (2001-2004). She has also served as commissioner, director, vice president, or president of various banks, and bank restructuring, agrobusiness, mining, and heavy industry organizations.

Read the article announcing Soewandi's appointment, Megawati aide chairs team,” in the Jakarta Post.