Jul 10, 2014

Quick review on Indonesia's president election by Vedi Hadiz and Richard Robison

New Mandala have a very good post-election review about two president candidates in Indonesia.

This is why the key question is how the new President will deal with the powerful interests that shape Indonesian politics and its economy as well as tackling entrenched corruption and political dysfunction. At a time of broad disillusionment across Indonesia society with the way democracy has evolved, both candidates are seen by their supporters to offer a way out.

However, neither Prabowo nor Jokowi represent a fundamental break with the past and neither possesses the resources to fully deliver on their rhetoric. Both have to operate within a powerful and complex system of oligarchy that enmeshes political authority and private wealth.


This means that his very alliance with the PDI-P may become an important liability. Although he is the candidate of that party, its support has been only grudgingly given by the grandees of the Sukarno family. One probable consequence of this is that Jokowi will find himself besieged by the demands of a family eager to maintain their authority over the party and to secure their share of the spoils, including key Ministries in the new government for their acolytes.

In these sorts of struggles, his only real bargaining chip is his popularity. So we can expect a continuation of his strategies in Solo and Jakarta to broaden access to social services, overcome bureaucratic inertia and build public infrastructure.

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