Jokowi’s Indonesia: An Early Assessment

Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Freiburg (Germany), 27 February 2015

FRIAS[…] The second workshop panel added additional perspectives by inquiring into economic, societal, and foreign policy issues. Regarding the demands of civil society and advocacy networks, Basilisa Dengen of Watch Indonesia! pointed out in her presentation that the Jokowi administration appears to be fairly responsive to and interconnected with political grassroots and societal interests. Compared to previous incumbents, who remained rather detached from society, Jokowi can draw on the support of vast numbers of local volunteers. Yet, at the same time, some of the new government’s policies are inconsistent with societal needs and colored by oligarchic interests. The current administration occasionally consults with NGOs and civil society groups, but institutionalized means of inclusion and participation remain underdeveloped. Civil society also criticizes that Jokowi appears to be not very interested in policy issues that lie outside his current policy focus. Human rights issues, for instance, have seemingly been sidelined: many societal activists are highly critical of Jokowi’s implementation of the death penalty for drug convicts (not least, because similar cases were suspended during Yudhoyono administration). Some observers believe that Jokowi cultivates an image of a strong leader in order to gain more popular support. Yet, while a majority of Indonesia’s population supports a tough stance against drug traffickers, a number of key ally countries have sharply condemned Jokowi’s rejection of clemency requests. […]

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