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"Jokowi's Indonesia: A Preliminary Assessment" (February 2015)

In 2014, the second five-year term of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono came to an end. Many pundits rated thus Indonesia’s July 2014 presidential elections to determine Yudhoyono’s successor as critical for the country’s democratic consolidation, economic performance and role in global and regional affairs. The two candidates, Joko Widodo (“Jokowi”) and Prabowo Subianto, could hardly have offered starker alternatives. Jokowi, representing a new generation of leaders, with highly successful stints as mayor of Surakarta (Central Java) and governor of Jakarta, had the reputation of a corruption-free, hands-on public manager and good rapport with the people. Reformist forces in Indonesia placed high hopes in him to successfully address Indonesia’s still numerous deficits on its trajectory from an autocratic political system to a full-fledged democracy. His opponent, Prabowo Subianto, son-in-law of long-time strongman Suharto and former military officer with a questionable human rights record, was seen by many as a hold-over of the ancien régime. He sought to attract voters with promises of forceful leadership and a heavily populist agenda. After a heated election campaign, Jokowi prevailed narrowly and was inaugurated as Indonesia’s seventh president in October 2014. Since then, many have been disillusioned with Jokowi’s leadership (or the lack thereof), contending that he has not been able to free himself from the influence of established elites. Therefore, the seminar organized by the Freiburg Southeast Asia program and the Southeast Asia Research Focus of the Freiburg Institute of Advanced Studies (FRIAS) on 27 February 2015 seeks to assess Jokowi’s first four months in office. It seeks to analyze the policies of his government in a range of policy fields, and to determine the extent to which Jokowi has so far managed to implement his election promises.


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