Below is a list with tagged columns and company profiles.

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

  • Parliamentary Election in Indonesia; Overview of Popular Political Parties

    Parliamentary Election in Indonesia; Overview of Popular Political Parties

    On Wednesday 9 April 2014, the Indonesian electorate (consisting of about 190 million people out of a total population of around 250 million) will vote for both the country's national and regional legislatures. This legislative election also bears a big influence on the presidential election that is scheduled for 9 July 2014 as a minimum of 25 percent of the popular vote in the legislative election (or 20 percent of seats in the House of Representatives, DPR) gives a party the authority to nominate a presidential candidate.

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  • The Jokowi Effect: Indonesia's Financial Markets Gain on Political Certainty

    A shock wave went through Indonesia's financial markets on Friday (14/03) after 15:00 local Jakarta time, when it became known that Joko Widodo (popularly known as Jokowi) is joining the presidential race for the July 2014 election. Moreover, he can count on full support from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), one of Indonesia's largest political parties, led by chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri. Few people doubt that Jokowi - current Governor of Jakarta - will be elected as the next president of Indonesia.

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  • Jokowi Candidate for Indonesian Presidency; Markets React Positively

    Jokowi Candidate for Indonesian Presidency; Markets React Positively

    After months of uncertainty and speculation, Governor of Jakarta Joko Widodo (popularly known as Jokowi) has finally declared to run for the Indonesian presidency in the presidential election scheduled for 9 July 2014. Jokowi is backed by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), one of the largest political parties in Indonesia, led by chairwoman Megawati Sukarnoputri. On Friday (14/03), Megawati released a statement in which she announced to fully support Jokowi in the upcoming elections.

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  • Analysis of Indonesia's Current Account Deficit: the Structural Oil Problem

    Analysis of Indonesia's Current Account Deficit: the Structural Oil Problem

    Fitch Ratings, one of the three major global credit rating agencies, estimates that Indonesia's current account deficit will reach USD $27.4 billion, equivalent to 3.1 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2014. As such, Fitch Ratings' forecast is more pessimistic than forecasts presented by both Indonesia's central bank (Bank Indonesia) and government. Both these institutions expect to curb the current account deficit below the three percent of GDP mark (a sustainable level). Global investors continue to carefully monitor the deficit.

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  • Can Joko Widodo Accelerate the Democratization Process in Indonesia?

    Can Joko Widodo Accelerate the Process of Democratization in Indonesia?

    With Indonesia's presidential election approaching (9 July 2014), investors - both domestic and foreign - have become more hesitant to commit to large investments, instead preferring to wait for the election results first. Obviously, investors want to see a 'market friendly' president to lead Southeast Asia's largest economy for (at least) the next five years; a ruler who can safeguard a conducive investment climate. For the Indonesian people, a just ruler is needed; one who can improve Indonesia's political and social issues.

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  • Corruption Scandal: Head of SKK Migas Arrested on Alleged Bribery Charges

    Corruption Scandal: Head of SKK Migas Arrested on Alleged Bribery Charges

    Late on Tuesday evening (13/08), the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) arrested Rudi Rubiandini, head of the Upstream Oil and Gas regulatory special task force (SKK Migas) for allegedly accepting bribes amounting to USD $400,000 from Kernel Oil Pte Ltd, which is headquartered in Singapore. Four other people were also arrested in connection with this case. Rubiandini is currently being questioned by the KPK. The institution has one day to determine Rubiandini's legal status.

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  • Indonesia’s 2014 Presidential Candidates; a Profile of Aburizal Bakrie

    Although Indonesia’s next presidential election will be held in mid-2014, Aburizal Bakrie already announced in 2012 that he would run for the presidency on behalf of the Golkar party, one of the leading political parties of Indonesia and once the strong political vehicle of Suharto during the New Order regime (1965-1998). However, Bakrie, chairman of Golkar and often referred to by his nickname 'Ical', is one of the most controversial figures in modern Indonesian politics and business.

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  • Names that Top the Presidential Polls Are Not Considered a Step Foreward

    Yesterday Lembaga Survei Indonesia (LSI), a leading Indonesian public opinion research institute, published the result of a survey that indicated Megawati Soekarnoputri is leading the poll to become the country's next president in 2014. In the survey she is closely followed by Aburizal Bakrie and Prabowo Subianto. This preliminary result can be regarded negative as these names are 'products' of the old regime and thus will not support further democratization.

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  • President Yudhoyono Back to Take Leadership of his Crumbling Democratic Party

    Just a few years ago, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's Democratic Party (in Indonesian Partai Demokrat or PD) enjoyed huge popularity among Indonesia's population. More than one fifth of the electorate voted for the 'Democrats' in the 2009 parliamentary election, a notable achievement in Indonesia's pluralistic society. In particular, the party's hard stance towards corruption was likened by the people. Now, however, the party crumbles under its own weight.

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  • Towards Next Year's Legislative Elections: PD, Golkar and PDI-P

    Next year, Indonesia will have new parliamentary and presidential elections. Now already, these elections are highly relevant as political parties need to find ways to gain popular support and need to look for the right presidential candidates. Political parties or coalitions of political parties that receive at least 20 percent of the votes during the parliamentary election, are allowed to nominate a presidential candidate. Thereafter, a presidential election - in which a few candidates participate - will decide the next Indonesian president.

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