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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.

25 July 2014

Politics: Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo (‘Jokowi’) is Indonesia’s president elect, having officially won the election with 53 percent of the vote. His opponent Lt Gen (ret) Prabowo Subianto rejected the contest as fraudulent, but (contrary to his initial indications) he did not withdraw his candidacy. He will appeal to the Constitutional Court, which will decide by 21 August. Prabowo is making grandiose claims about systematic fraud, but his case clearly seems very weak. With his supporters showing few tendencies to demonstrate, risks of security disturbances are diminishing. Meanwhile, Prabowo may squander his recently acquired stature by conveying petulance and confirming detractors’ suspicions about his democratic credentials. Prabowo claims that examining fraud is necessary for the welfare of Indonesia’s democracy – but this claim is far-fetched, especially given that his complaints about Quick Counts have proven wrong. Nonetheless, the outcome of a case in the unreliable Constitutional Court can not be certain (Page 2). Certain Golkar figures are agitating for an October 2014 date for a party chair election, but these figures are mostly peripheral, while the core party leadership seems resolved to abide by an October 2015 schedule (p. 7). Rifts are apparent within Partai Demokrat, as some party figures (especially retired generals) harbor antipathy toward Prabowo, while others have aversions to Widodo’s party chair, PDI Perjuangan’s Megawati (p. 8). Hatta Rajasa’s National Mandate Party (Pan) seemed to waver in its loyalty to Prabowo; it may do so again if (as seems likely) Prabowo’s electoral dispute fails (p. 9). A faction within the Islamic United Development Party (PPP) clearly favors aligning with Widodo, but this will hinge on an eventual party chair election that multiple figures may contest (p. 10).

Justice: Former State Sports Minister Andi Mallarangeng – a leading pro democracy reformer from the post Soeharto years – received a four year jail sentence for corruption in the Hambalang project. Prosecutors will appeal for a stiffer verdict (p. 11).

Appointments: At an awkward juncture in national politics, the president abruptly removed Army Chief Gen Budiman, perhaps for having sympathized with Widodo (p. 11).

Outlook: Confronting the patronage¬ style systems of Indonesia’s well entrenched elite seems likely to be the foremost challenge for the president elect. Although parliament will be hostile, Widodo’s advantages include his clear framework and copious experience in rectifying what he refers to as “managerial controls”. A key will be to assemble a like minded cabinet – and resist pressure to barter seats for promises (p. 11).

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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