The Jakarta Post
In the lead-up to Sunday’s inauguration of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo for his second term, there was a sense of foreboding, especially in the wake of massive student protests and the stabbing of Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto. The wrangling over leadership positions at the House of Representatives and the People’s Consultative Assembly, which many expect could be a prelude to an effort to water down all democratic arrangements that we have set up in the past two decades, certainly adds to the sense of doom and gloom.
How the inauguration process initially unfolded on Sunday certainly did not help. Unlike his first inauguration in October 2014, when President Jokowi rode a horse-drawn buggy from the House building to the State Palace, this year’s event was less of a spectacle, with heavy security present and Jokowi only once rolling down his window to wave for television cameras at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle. After five years of tremendous challenges and more than one year of political pageantry, Jokowi certainly did not have the time for pomposity and grand statements.
The President did not waste time during the inauguration and, apparently aware that some had begun to doubt the effectiveness of his leadership, he delivered a brief and bold speech aimed at bringing some of his swagger back.
It was the typical get-down-to-business speech that he is known for, but this time, he called for more urgency, saying that he would only take result-oriented steps and that he wanted the bureaucracy to follow through. Jokowi maintained that he only wanted policies that would affect people directly. “I am not interested in process. I don’t want for policies to only be sent to people — I want them to be delivered,” he said.
Jokowi also made a serious pledge in his inauguration speech that one of the first things he would do to help deliver results would be to create bureaucratic reform. “There are too many layers to bureaucracy, like the four layers of echelon that we have now. We only need two,” he said.
For a president who is not known for big ideas, Jokowi laid out his plan to help Indonesia achieve its long-term goal of escaping the middle-income trap by 2045, when the nation will celebrate its one-century anniversary of independence. “Therefore, I will focus my second term on improving the quality of human resources,” he said.
The second term is when the president is typically free from any political constraints. Now that it is likely that the majority of political factions in the House will join his administration, Jokowi should be able to implement his signature policies on deregulation and infrastructure development.
Jokowi’s inauguration speech was certainly meant to project strength and resoluteness after months of uncertainty and political jockeying. It appears that Jokowi has got his mojo back and this is the last chance he has to make good on all the promises he made.