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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 August 2018

Politics: The vice president (VP) contender overlooked by President Joko Widodo, former Constitutional Court Chief Justice Mahfud Mahmodin, divulged an unflattering account of the machinations behind the nomination of Clerics Council (MUI) Chair Ma’ruf Amin.  In an account conveyed on live television, Mahfud depicted Amin as having clambered ruthlessly for the nomination.  This depiction runs counter to the pious image that Amin projects (Page 2).  The running mate of Prabowo Subianto, former Jakarta Vice Governor Sandiaga Uno, faces scrutiny from the Election Oversight Agency (Bawaslu) regarding campaign contributions that he reportedly made to the parties that nominated him last week.  Governance questions may dog the young coal tycoon in the election process ahead (p. 2).  As Vice President Jusuf Kalla met prominently with Prabowo, President Joko Widodo provided a cabinet post to Vice Police Chief Com Gen Syafruddin, Kalla’s former adjutant (p. 4).  On the day of his nomination, Amin conducted an interview with Rakyat Merdeka (transcribed and translated in full by Ref Wkly) in which he advocated “empowerment of the religious community’s economy” (p. 5).

Election Preparations: The Election Oversight Agency (Bawaslu) is ominously defying rules set forth by the General Election Commission (KPU) (p. 8).

Policy News: In response to an expanding current‑account deficit, the government is postponing projects by major state firms that involve large import components.  Controls on non‑strategic consumer imports are also under consideration (p. 9).

Appointments: The Law Ministry official who headed deliberations on parliamentary legislation, Enny Nurbaningsih received appointment to the Constitutional Court, where she will likely rule on constitutional challenges of bills that she helped draft (p. 9).

Economics: Amid insufficient inward investment and adverse international conditions, strengthening domestic demand is straining the balance of payments and pressuring the rupiah.  Bank Indonesia (BI) responded with the fourth rate hike this year, but a relaxation of pressure may require a change in conditions in the US (p. 10).

Outlook: Widodo’s choice of running mate apparently aimed to neutralize Islamic opponents and render his re‑election certain.  But it may do the opposite, by disenchanting moderates.  Widodo should still be able to win – but, even so, there would be additional uncertainties.  A key question is the poten­tial influence of the theologian Amin (p. 13).

Note: Special Reformasi Syndicated Report Available Soon: 2019 Election Outlook — The Players, the Playing Field, Standings and Strategies.  The report reviews the election format, examines the parties and candidates, analyzes poll data for the presidential and legislative contests, and assesses the implications of scenarios for conditions in Indonesia.  For more details and pricing please email <>.


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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