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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.
Politics: President Joko Widodo announced a 34 member cabinet that includes 13 diverse party figures and several personal loyalists of PDI Perjuangan Chair Megawati. The roster is mediocre, with few proven, dynamic reformers. The junior technocrat Bambang Brodjonegoro fills the powerful finance portfolio, but otherwise the economics team is lackluster. Accomplished reformers are in the energy and primary education posts, while ministers for transportation and health hold promise for upgrading basic services. Party figures with questionable aptitude fill roles including labor, industry, land affairs and a key post for governance: state minister for the state apparatus and bureaucratic reform. The roster seems designed to appease parties, and Widodo may harbor only modest ambitions for reform, focusing perhaps on health and education. Disparate interests may complicate coordination; most notably, several core functions (defense, home affairs and state enterprises) are under figures who may serve Megawati, rather than Widodo. For the president, acquiescing to party demands will not necessarily enhance his security: if poorly suited ministers precipitate scandals, the fallout would affect his clean reputation – a pillar of his popularity and strength. (Page 2). The new law minister moved swiftly to recognize Romahurmuziy as the legal chair of the United Development Party (PPP), which has allied with Widodo. Nonetheless, parliamentary leaders allied to Gerindra’s Prabowo Subianto recognize Suryadharma Ali as chair, and they moved accordingly to fill all leadership posts in legislative commissions with figures from pro Prabowo parties. Pro Widodo parties rejected the appointments and compiled their own ‘rival parliamentary leadership’. At issue is the new Legislative Assemblies (MD3) Law, which Widodo could cancel via a Decree-in-Lieu-of-Law (Perppu) – but in order to withstand a parliamentary ratification vote, the measure would need support from either Partai Demokrat or the National Mandate Party (Pan). A decade ago, very similar wrangling debilitated parliament for two months, until the chair of Golkar changed hands (p. 8). The home affairs minister ordered Jakarta’s provincial assembly to induct Basuki Purnama (‘Ahok’) as governor (p. 13). Megawati reportedly intervened strenuously to prevent a pro Widodo PDI P figure from obtaining the communications post (p. 12).
Policy News: Starting next week, distribution of Health Cards (KIS) and Education Cards (KIP) will di¬rect benefits to the poor and near poor (p. 13). Officials in Jakarta are due to announce a wage hike; unions are demanding 30 percent (p. 14).
Profiles: The 34 new ministers (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.