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2019 Election Primer

A comprehensive guide to the presidential and parliamentary elections of April 2019. 60 pages of proprietary research, analysis and graphics by Kevin O'Rourke. Profiles players, assesses trends, and analyzes implications for investment and reform. Read more


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.

23 October 2020

Politics: Discordant views surround plans to treat several million frontline workers with vaccines from China that are still experimental.  The Doctors’ Association (IDI) urges caution – but West Java’s governor is eager to vaccinate three million in his province by year‑end.  Mishaps could affect public confidence in an eventual mass vaccination.  Given the stakes, a more methodical pace might ultimately prove swifter (Page 2). 

PDI‑Perjuangan Secretary General Hasto Kristiyanto criticized a minister, or ministers, who are posturing in anticipation of a presidential run.  This suggests that Megawati’s party has reservations about Gerindra’s Prabowo Subianto as its 2024 nominee (p. 4). 

Political actors are accepting, as fact, a claim by a Kompas poll that satisfaction with the president has dropped sharply.  In fact, Kompas obfuscated its sampling methodology and there is reason to doubt its accuracy.  It probably only interviewed fixed-line phone owners – a tiny group that is wealthier and more urbanized than the national populace (p. 5). 

Health: Testing levels dropped back again, but the positivity rate nonetheless declined as case growth decelerated – nationally and in most major regions, including Jakarta (p. 7).  

Policy News: The president has yet to sign the Omnibus Bill on Job Creation into law, and controversy persists over yet more post‑passage edits (p. 9).  The labor minister affirmed that four regulations (PPs) on the Labor Law will be forthcoming (p. 9).

International: The swift move by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to visit Indonesia sends a powerful message at an opportune time (p. 10)  Abu Dhabi now features a President Joko Widodo Street – a gesture driven by heightened Middle‑East tensions (p. 11).

Infrastructure: The Public Works Ministry added nine toll roads to its list of priority national projects, including a Bandung-Cilicap route (p. 11).  

Economics: The finance minister reportedly intends to raise cigarette excise taxes next year by an average of 17 percent.  This exceeds the past annual average of 10 percent, but a larger hike would enhance revenues while helping curb the substantial economic and human costs of smoking (p. 12).  The minister ruled out a proposal to temporarily remove tax on auto sales (p. 13). 

Outlook: A victory for Donald Trump is unlikely, but the archaic electoral college renders predictions hazardous.  A second term would prove consequential for Indonesia’s growth, security and democratization (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.