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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’s roster of names for his cabinet still remains in flux. In a move that bodes well for future appointment processes, the president has involved the independent Anti-Corruption Commission (KPK) and Financial Transactions Analysis Center (PPATK) in screening candidates. This should help him resist pressure from allied parties to appoint unsuitable figures, and Widodo said that he has scratched eight names from the original list that he proposed. Ironically, that list (which looked authentic) had contained numerous figures with strengths in economics and clean governance reforms – but the details of press rumors signal that the revised list could be weaker. At the outset of his presidency, Widodo is grappling immediately with the crux of tensions in politics: reconciling an imperative for professionalism, on one hand, with the demands of formidable patronage networks, on the other. The original list at least indicated that the president intends to rely on sound figures for economic policymaking. Eliciting KPK approval for the revisions may still prove difficult, and delays may persist (Page 2). Widodo’s correspondence with parliament shows that the president will combine the Forestry and Environment Ministries, while dividing the Education Ministry. There may be a new coordinating minister (for maritime affairs) and a new Ministry on Land and Spatial Planning (p. 6). The president’s plans for a new chief-of-staff of the Presidential Office bode well for effectiveness – but the choice of the cabinet level appointee will be crucial (p. 9). In his inaugural address, the new president emphasized public-service delivery and greater attention to maritime affairs (p. 10). Detractors of Acting Jakarta Governor Basuki Purnama (‘Ahok’) may force him out of power, depending on how judges interpret the inexact wording of Decree-in-Lieu-of-Law (Perppu) #1/2014 (p. 11).
Justice: The Supreme Court sentenced a Chevron Indonesia general manager to four years in prison for charges that remain highly dubious. The case underscores legal-system frailties that affect the investment climate (p. 13).
Policy News: New reports claim that President Widodo targets a Rp3,000 per liter fuel price hike on 1 November, but official confirmation remains lacking (p. 14).
Appointments: The board of the independent State Audit Agency (BPK) elected the former Golkar legislator Harry Azhar Azis as chair. Misuse of the powerful agency for partisan interests would prove nettlesome for the administration (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.