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Today's Headlines Politics

  • Indonesia Political Update: Prabowo Controls Majority in MPR

    After a long plenary session of the People’s Consultative Assembly (or MPR), Zulkifli Hasan has been elected as the Speaker of the MPR for the period 2014-2019. Zulkifli Hasan, a former Indonesian Forestry Minister, is backed by the Merah-Putih coalition and thus his election constitutes another blow for president-elect Joko Widodo (popularly known as Jokowi). The Merah-Putih coalition is a coalition of six political parties that support vindictive defeated presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto.

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  • Yudhoyono to Issue Presidential Decree to Block Regional Elections Law

    Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced to issue a presidential decree to override parliament’s approval of the controversial regional elections law. This new bill passed the House of Representatives (DPR) on Friday last week. Immediately institutions and people objected to the bill - which abolishes direct elections for regional leaders (leaving it to regional legislatures to elect mayors, district heads and governors) - as it is considered a step back for the country’s young democracy and reduces transparency.

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  • Update Indonesia’s Regional Election Law: SBY Has ‘Plan B’

    Incumbent Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) announced on Tuesday (30/09) that he prepares a plan to undermine the new bill - accepted by Indonesia’s House of Representatives (DPR) - that blocks direct elections for regional leaders (leaving it to regional legislatures to elect mayors, district heads and governors). Many institutions and people have objected against the new bill as it is regarded a setback for the democratization process in Indonesia. SBY also immediately expressed its concern about the passing of the new bill.

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  • Economy of Indonesia: Regional Election Bill and US Economic Data

    The most controversial and heatedly debated news story from Indonesia in the past week was parliament’s approval of a new bill that puts an end to direct voting in the regions. This means that it are not the people but instead the regional legislatures that will elect mayors, district heads and governors. Critics say this is a major setback for the democracy process of Indonesia and will make local elections prone to corruption, collusion and nepotism as Indonesia’s legislatures - both at the national and regional level - are believed to be corrupted to a high degree.

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  • Indonesian Stocks & Rupiah Weaken on New Bill and Wall Street Fall

    Indonesian stocks and rupiah exchange rate weakened considerably on Friday (26/09) after Indonesian parliament approved a new bill that puts an end to direct local elections. Moreover, market sentiments were negative after stocks on Wall Street plunged on Thursday because of increasing concern about the global economy as well as consumers’ problems with Apple's latest software updates and new product launches (iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus) resulting in a 3.8 percent slide of Apple shares.

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  • Democracy in Indonesia: Parliament Passes Bill to End Direct Local Voting

    Indonesia’s House of Representatives (DPR) passed a controversial bill in the early morning of Friday (26/09) that is widely criticized by media and analysts. After a walk out of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party (the largest party in parliament having 148 out of 560 seats) in the plenary session, parliament agreed that direct voting in the regions will be scrapped, thus leaving it to the regional legislatures to elect mayors, district heads and governors. Critics say this bill is a setback for democracy.

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  • Indonesia under Jokowi’s Cabinet: Technocrats vs Party Politicians

    Indonesia’s seventh president Joko Widodo (better known as Jokowi), who will take office in late October 2014 thereby replacing incumbent President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY), said that during the next five years the Indonesian government will consist of 34 ministries of which 18 are headed by technocrats and 16 by “professional” party politicians. This structure is basically the same as that of the current SBY-led government. In modern Indonesian history the distinction between technocrats and party politicians has been an important one.

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  • Indonesian Constitutional Court Rejects Prabowo Subianto’s Election Challenge

    It took about six hours for Indonesia’s Constitutional Court (Mahkamah Konstitusi) to read out the lengthy 300-page verdict in the case that was filed by defeated presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto, who claimed that the result of Indonesia’s July 2014 presidential election was invalid due to large-scale violations and fraud that allegedly occurred during the voting and counting processes. During the read out it became increasingly clear that the Constitutional Court would reject Subianto’s claims due to a lack of evidence.

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  • Ruling in Prabowo Subianto’s Court Case Expected on Thursday

    The security status in Jakarta has been raised one day ahead of the ruling of Indonesia’s Constitutional Court (Mahkamah Konstitusi) on Thursday (21/08) as the Jakarta administration anticipates public protests. The Constitutional Court will decide on defeated presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto’s claims that the election result of Indonesia’s July presidential election was influenced by massive fraud and violations (in both the voting and counting process). According to the official result Joko Widodo won with 53.15 percent of the votes.

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  • Joko Widodo Aims to Cut Indonesia’s Expensive Energy Subsidies

    Soon-to-be president of Indonesia Joko Widodo (popularly known as Jokowi) stated that he intends to cut the large fuel and electricity subsidies once in office. Indonesia’s Revised State Budget of 2015 (RAPBN 2015) allocates IDR 363.5 trillion (about USD $31.2 billion) to energy subsidies. This figure accounts for about 18 percent of total government spending (IDR 2,019.9 trillion) set for 2015. Although the energy subsidies aim to support the poorer segments of Indonesian society, they cause complex problems in Southeast Asia’s largest economy.  

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Latest Columns Politics

  • Prabowo Subianto Coalition Accepts Indonesia’s Constitutional Court Verdict

    It took almost six hours for the Constitutional Court of Indonesia (Mahkamah Konstitusi) on Thursday (21/08) to read out 300 pages of a lengthy 4,392-page verdict in the case filed by defeated presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto, who claimed that the result of Indonesia’s July 2014 presidential election was invalid due to widespread violations and fraud that allegedly occurred during the voting and counting processes. During the read out it became increasingly clear that the court would reject Subianto’s claims due to a lack of evidence.

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  • Constitutional Court Ruling: Prabowo Subianto Not Expected to Accept Defeat

    Constitutional Court Ruling: Prabowo Subianto Not Expected to Accept Defeat

    At 14:00 pm local Jakarta time zone, Indonesia’s Constitutional Court (Mahkamah Konstitusi) is expected to announce its decision on Prabowo Subianto’s election result challenge. The defeated presidential candidate filed a court case claiming that massive fraud and violations took place amid the voting and counting processes in the context of Indonesia’s July 2014 presidential election, won by Joko Widodo (securing 53.15 percent of the votes). Although the court’s decision is final and legally binding, Subianto not expected to surrender yet.

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  • Elections Signals Big Questions on Indonesia's Future Democracy

    Elections Signals Big Questions on Indonesia's Future Democracy

    Recent elections in Indonesia have met with a great deal of attention and look to be a decisive moment for the country. We are looking at a country that has major financial problems and also is making a decision about the direction of its democracy. Prabowo Subianto has pledged to conduct a rollback in some of the aspects of Indonesia’s democracy. So the supporters of Indonesian democracy will be watching very closely to see how the recent election events will unfold.

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  • Quick Count Results Indonesian Election Mostly in Favour of Jokowi

    Quick Count Results Indonesian Election Mostly in Favour of Jokowi

    As had been predicted previously by various popularity surveys, the outcome of the Indonesian presidential election, a race between Joko Widodo (known as Jokowi) and Prabowo Subianto, was close. In fact, after the unofficial yet reliable quick count results had been collected, both camps claimed a victory. However, the majority of the quick count results show a Jokowi victory with a margin of about five to six percentage points. On 22 July 2014, the Indonesian General Elections Commission (KPU) will announce the official result.

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  • Why Are Foreign Investors Concerned about a Prabowo Subianto Win?

    Why Are Foreign Investors Concerned about a Prabowo Subianto Win?

    The result of Indonesia’s presidential election (scheduled for 9 July 2014), which has become a tight race between Prabowo Subianto and Joko Widodo (Jokowi), will for sure have a large impact on foreign investors’ confidence in Indonesian politics and the economy. A few weeks ago, a survey of Deutsche Bank showed that a majority of respondents (consisting of foreign investors) intend to sell their Indonesian assets if controversial candidate Prabowo Subianto will be elected. What are foreigners’ perceptions of a Subianto win?

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  • Presidential Election Indonesia 2014: 2nd Television Debate Jokowi-Prabowo

    Presidential Election Indonesia 2014: 2nd Television Debate Jokowi-Prabowo

    Sunday evening (15/06), the second debate between Indonesia’s two presidential candidates - Prabowo Subianto and Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo - was held. This debate was broadcast live on various Indonesian television stations and - once again - managed to become a trending topic on social media. The debate, the theme of which was ‘development of the economy and social welfare‘, was characterized by a nationalistic and protectionist tone. This tone had already been set by Subianto in the past weeks but now Jokowi also stressed protectionism.

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  • Indonesia Presidential Election: Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo vs Prabowo Subianto

    Indonesia Presidential Election: Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo Versus Prabowo Subianto

    It had been speculated for a while, but yesterday the official declaration of Indonesia's presidential candidates and their running mates (the vice-presidential candidates) were presented. In the upcoming election, scheduled for 9 July 2014, Jakarta Governor Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo will face Prabowo Subianto, former army general and former son-in-law to president Suharto (Indonesia's second president), in a battle for the country's presidential seat. What is there to tell about this battle?

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  • Indonesian Rupiah Exchange Rate and Stocks Gain Ground on Friday

    The week ended well for both the Indonesian rupiah exchange rate and the benchmark Jakarta Composite Index (IHSG). Based on the Bloomberg Dollar Index, the rupiah appreciated 0.30 percent to IDR 11,413 per US dollar at the end of Friday's trading day (16/05). Meanwhile, the IHSG surged 0.80 percent to finish just above the psychological level of 5,000 points. The good performance was supported by investors' positive response towards the latest political developments in Indonesia.

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  • Indonesian Politics: the Presidential Candidates' Running Mates

    Indonesian Politics: Who are the Presidential Candidates' Running Mates?

    Joko Widodo, the presidential candidate of the PDI-P (Indonesia's current largest opposition party and which won the 2014 legislative election last April) may announce his running mate (the vice presidential candidate) on Wednesday (14/05). Newsportal Bisnis.com reported that Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, hinted at this during a brief conversation between Jokowi and journalists on Monday. Names that are frequently mentioned in connection to the position of running mate of Jokowi are Jusuf Kalla and Abraham Samad.

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  • Preliminary Analysis Parliamentary Election Result in Indonesia

    A Preliminary Analysis of the Parliamentary Election Result in Indonesia

    Although several quick counts of today's legislative election in Indonesia still continue, the big picture is clear. The current opposition party PDI-P will win Indonesia's 2014 parliamentary election, followed by Golkar and Gerindra. This is no surprise as most surveys that were released ahead of the election indicated that these three political parties would be the major contenders. As a whole, the election went relatively smoothly, with only a few minor incidents. The official result will be announced on 9 May 2014.

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