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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.

12 September 2014

Politics: The ouster of the disgraced Suryadharma Ali as chair of the United Development Party (PPP), and an open race to replace him, could potentially make the Islamic party defect from Prabowo Subianto’s ‘Red and White Alliance’. If so, the alliance would shrink from 63 percent of seats in the next parliament to 56 percent, and the defection of one additional party – such as Partai Demokrat, Golkar or the National Mandate Party (Pan) – would reduce Prabowo’s bloc to a minority (Page 2). A storm of criticism has focused on Prabowo’s bloc for its plan to scrap direct elections for regional heads, through a Regional Head Elections Bill (RUU Pilkada) targeted for passage on 25 September. Despite the denunciations from regional heads, anti corruption experts and democracy activists, Prabowo’s support has strengthened, as the Islamic Justice Welfare Party (PKS) now backs the measure. Meanwhile, a key director general claims that the administration favors direct elections, but the home affairs minister is more equivocal –while President Yudhoyono remains aloof. His party, parliament’s largest, still favors scrapping direct elections (p. 4). Jakarta Vice Governor Basuki Purnama (‘Ahok’) resigned from his party, Pra¬bowo’s Gerindra, in protest of its stance on the RUU Pilkada. This marks a welcome example – rare in Indonesian politics – of a stance based on principle. Eventually, it may also prove savvy (p. 7).

Justice: Prosecutors charged former Partai Demokrat Chair Anas Urbaningrum with 15 years for corruption, money laundering and obstruction of justice (p. 9). Investigators are examining relatives, aides and subordinates of the former energy minister and corruption suspect Jero Wacik (p. 10). Authorities uncovered a fuel smuggling operation that involves a civil servant, informal Navy personnel and a Pertamina supervisor. According to Gatra, a far wider ring of higher level figures conspired (p. 11).

Policy News: Aides to President-Elect Joko Widodo are attempting to bring about a revision of the 2015 budget before the fiscal year starts. Given the likely hostility of the new parliament, the prospects of the plan seem dubious (p. 12). A proposed Bill on Lawyers would establish a role for governmental supervision of the notoriously problematic profession. The bill takes direct aim at the self serving Lawyers Association (Peradi), which is mounting formidable resistance (p. 13). Widodo prevailed upon the state secretary to scotch a purchase of Mercedes for ministers. The fuss shows that Widodo remains determined to project modesty – a key to his success to date (p. 14).

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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