Charting a New Path: Indonesia’s Presidential Transition, 2014


Indonesia’s 2014 presidential election opened a new era in the country’s political life. For the first time since 1998, when a 30-year period of authoritarian rule ended, a popularly elected president completed two full terms in office and ceded power to a successor from a different political party. The transition tested the leadership of the outgoing president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, whose cabinet included opponents of his elected successor, Joko Widodo. Governor of Jakarta and a former mayor, Jokowi, as the incoming president was popularly known, faced a steep learning curve, but Yudhoyono’s cooperation eased the challenge. The director of Yudhoyono’s innovative delivery unit, Kuntoro Magusubroto, worked with Jokowi’s transition team. The unit prepared reports and briefings that gave the incoming Jokowi team an overview of key policies and programs. Other ministries provided briefings that varied in depth. The cooperative tone of the 2014 transition was a welcome departure from prior divisive handovers. Nonetheless, as of 2016, there was still a need to adjust the timing of the five-year plan with regard to the transition period as well as provide a legal basis for transferring information between incumbent ministers and incoming government officers.


Robert Joyce drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Jakarta in May 2016. Case published August 2016.

political transition
electoral cycles
delivery unit
vetting political appointees
handing over power
Focus Area(s)
Centers of Government
Critical Tasks
Aligning policy and budget
Improving cabinet efficiency
Preparation of policy papers and choices
Strategic planning
Core Challenge
Capacity (capability traps)
Credibility (trust)
Principal-agent problem (delegation)
Country of Reform
Case Studies
Robert Joyce