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Jakarta Post

The rise, crumbling of reformist populism in Indonesia (Part 2 of 2)

  • Olle Törnquist


Kungshamn, Sweden   /   Wed, October 30, 2019   /  10:38 am
The rise, crumbling of reformist populism in Indonesia (Part 2 of 2) Once reelected, Jokowi accommodated his major political opponents (even Prabowo) as well as the lawmakers (including from the PDI-P) that now weaken the anti-corruption agency and the regulations on mining and land acquisition, plus revised the Criminal Code to reduce critical freedoms. This is power-sharing, not democracy. (JP/Syelanita)

In short, the populist openings were not bad but a positive way to enable more democratization while also fostering human rights and liberal economic development. The Economist, for one, applauded. However, there were serious setbacks. The social pact in Surakarta declined when then-mayor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo left for Jakarta. The broad alliance for public welfare was also not sustained. In the 2014 presidential elections, the best organized trade union confederation even supported infamous former general and business oligarch Prabowo Subianto in return for favors. Moreover, when Jokowi had won with a thin margin and formed his government, he did not mainly rely on the prodemocracy movement but the economic and political elite, including in “his” Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P); and he failed to use the anti-corruption agency to contain ...

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.