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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 October 2019

Politics: The new cabinet roster features continuity, with 16 members returning – including Sri Mulyani Indrawati as finance minister – and inclusivity, with two posts provided to Gerindra, which thereby brings President Joko Widodo’s nominal alliance to 74 percent of parliament (Partai Demokrat received no seats).  There are 16 party representatives, accounting for 42 percent of the cabinet.  Among the incumbents returning, 11 are in their same posts – including three ‘inner circle’ figures: the presidential chief of staff, the state secretary and the cabinet secretary (Page 2). 

Produced since 2003, the Reformasi Weekly Review provides timely, relevant and independent analysis on Indonesian political and policy news.  The writer is Kevin O’Rourke, author of the book Reformasi.  For subscription info please contact: <>.

The economics team seems likely be weaker, overall, despite Indrawati’s stablizing inclusion – although much hinges on the little‑known energy minister, former Ambassador to Japan Arifin Tasrif.  The president made inappropriate appointments for several posts.  Amid precarious economic growth (due to declining investment) and recent demonstra­tions about corruption, the new cabinet roster neglects the imperative for reform (p. 3). 

A sensational aspect is the inclusion of Gerindra Chair Prabowo Subianto as defense minister, but the post is relatively weak.  Nonetheless, his inclusion adds an anti‑China element, placing him at odds with others in the administration (p. 5). 

The cabinet’s security team reflects concern about radicalization, especially in the choice of a former Army general for religion minister (p. 5).

Minister Profiles: The education minister is a digital entrepreneur who might prove able to innovate, but the health minister is a doctor (and two‑star Army general) denounced by peers.  Meanwhle, the roster marks another expansion of influence for the police: after Insp Gen Firli Bahuri won appointment as the next chair of the Anti‑Corruption Commission (KPK), Police Chief Gen Tito Karnavian received appointment as home affairs minister.  How he uses that role to oversee direct elections for regional heads remains to be seen.  Profiles of all 38 cabinet appointees (pp. 7‑20). 


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.