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Reformasi: The Struggle for Power in Post-Soeharto Indonesia is a non-fiction narrative that charts the course of Indonesian politics between 1996 and 2001.

17 October 2014

Politics: Preparations are in place for what should prove to be an historic and smooth presidential inauguration on 20 October. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and US Secretary of State John Kerry will attend. In a characteristic touch of unconventional style, President-Elect Joko Widodo will ride a horse-drawn carriage from the parliament building to the palace (Page 2). President-Elect Joko Widodo took the initiative to meet Golkar Chair Aburizal Bakrie to defuse tensions with parliament. In terms of tangible results, the talk appears to have achieved little, if anything – but Widodo came across to the public as being more magnanimous than his petulant opponents in parliament (p. 4). The new chair of the Islamic United Development Party (PPP) is Romahurmuziy – according to the former party secretary-general and his numerous allies in the leadership. However, former Religion Minister Surya Dharma Ali claims that he is still the rightful chair, and it remains to be seen whether the fissure can mend in the coming days (p. 5). National Mandate Party (Pan) Chair Hatta Rajasa cited the possibility that his party may back direct elections for regional heads in a vote now due in January 2015 (p. 6). Gerindra Vice Chair Fadli Zon used Megawati’s estranged sister Rachmawati to orchestrate a publicity event denouncing Widodo for corruption. The independent Anti-Corruption Commission (KPK) promptly quashed the matter, but such stunts will likely recur (p. 9).

Policy News: Rather than a reason for postponing a price hike, recent global drop in world oil prices marks an ideal opportunity to both hike prices and scrap the price cap – thereby ridding Indonesia of a malignant economic burden (p. 9).

Appointments: President Yudhoyono named 22 new ambassadors (p. 9).

Health: The health minister claimed that preparations for Ebola are well in hand (p. 12).

Outlook: Widodo’s cabinet roster, due out on 21 October, could be somewhat better than expected, based on the flurry of details, indicators and rumors emerging in recent press reports. Former Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati is receiving consideration for the post of coordinating economics minister, which would significantly improve the outlook for the economy. Numerous reform minded figures are seemingly in line for posts. However, Widodo has said that nearly half of the cabinet will go to party representatives, which will weigh on its performance. And prospects remain unclear for sound appointees to strategic posts such as energy, trade, labor and transportation (p. 12).

Reformasi Weekly Review provides timely, relevant and independent analysis on Indonesian political and policy news. Delivered electronically every Friday, Reformasi Weekly is written by Kevin O’Rourke, author of the book Reformasi. For subscription information please contact. Reformasi Weekly is a product of PT Reformasi Info Sastra.
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