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Today's Headlines Politics

  • 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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  • Joko Widodo ‘Jokowi’ Officially Wins Indonesia’s Presidential Election

    On Tuesday evening (22/07), the General Elections Commission (KPU) officially declared Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, the winner of the 2014 presidential election. Jokowi beat Prabowo Subianto, a controversial former army general, by 53.15 to 46.85 percent. Subianto did not witness the announcement. Several hours earlier, when news started to spread about a Jokowi win, Subianto announced to withdraw from the vote-counting process. He will challenge the result in the country's Constitutional Court (the ruling is expected in late August).

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  • Indonesia's Presidential Election Result: Prabowo Subianto or Joko Widodo?

    With only one more day to go before the General Elections Commission (KPU) will release the official result of the July 2014 presidential election, it seems almost certain that it will take a Constitutional Court ruling for the final judgement. Over the weekend, data from KPU indicates that Joko Widodo has won the election by a margin of about five percentage points. However, his rival Prabowo Subianto has already stated that he will challenge the result as he claims that there are indications of fraud at several polling stations.

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  • Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Prabowo Subianto & Joko Widodo Will Meet

    Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Prabowo Subianto & Jokowi Will Meet

    Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who will end his second and final five-year term in October 2014, announced to meet both presidential candidates (Prabowo Subianto and Joko Widodo) in the country’s State Palace on Sunday (20/07). In this meeting, president Yudhoyono will emphasize the importance of a peaceful and orderly transition to the next government. Currently, it remains unknown who of the two candidates won the presidential election (held on 9 July 2014). Due to the tight race, chances of social unrest increase.

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  • Investors Awaiting Indonesian Election Result: Latest Political Developments

    Investors Waiting for Indonesian Election Result: Latest Political Developments

    Although investors in Indonesian stocks received positive news from the USA after Federal Reserve Head Janet Yellen stated on Tuesday (15/07) that the US economic recovery remains incomplete therefore justifying the continuation of a loose monetary policy for the foreseeable future as well as solid economic expansion of 7.5 percent (yoy) in China during the second quarter of 2014, the domestic political context in Southeast Asia’s largest economy remains a concern. What are the latest political developments in Indonesia?

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  • News Update Indonesian Presidential Election: Prabowo vs Jokowi

    News Update Indonesian Presidential Election: Prabowo vs Jokowi

    Since 07:00 am local time, Indonesians have been able to cast their votes for the country’s presidential election; a tight race between Joko Widodo and Prabowo Subianto. Despite the narrow gap between both presidential candidates (based on various surveys), the election has been conducted in good order so far. The polling stations will close at 13:00 pm local time. Hereafter, live quick count scores, which are traditionally quite accurate, will be presented. By approximately 17:00 pm local time, the quick counts are expected to be finalized.

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Latest Columns Politics

  • Will Indonesia Move the Capital Away from Jakarta & Java Island?

    Will Indonesia Move the Capital Away from Jakarta & Java Island?

    The Indonesian government is still studying the possibility of building a new capital city in Indonesia, thus replacing Jakarta that has become overcrowded with approximately 10 million official residents (the real figure may be much higher as many unregistered Indonesians live in the capital). Moreover, every morning there is a huge inflow of people (originating from the satellite cities around Jakarta) who are heading to their office or place of work. This causes great pressure on the city's fragile infrastructure.

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  • Indonesian Politics: Ahok Withdraws Appeal against Blasphemy Conviction

    Indonesian Politics: Ahok Withdraws Appeal against Blasphemy Conviction

    To us it came as a surprise to learn this morning that former Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (better known as Ahok) decided not to appeal against his controversial blasphemy conviction earlier this month when the Jakarta Court found him guilty of insulting Islam and therefore sentenced him to two years in prison, a case that is regarded a setback for Indonesian pluralism and religious tolerance.

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  • Wake up Call for Indonesia: What Can We Conclude from Ahok's Verdict?

    Wake up Call for Indonesia: What Can We Conclude from Ahok's Verdict?

    Around the globe media reported about the controversial decision of the Jakarta Court to hand a two-year prison sentence to former Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (better known as Ahok), a much tougher sentence than had been demanded by prosecutors. Ahok, a Christian from Chinese descent, was imprisoned on grounds of blasphemy. However, most analysts assume Ahok is victim of a flawed and corrupt political and judicial system.

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  • Rising Influence Hardline Islam & Billionaires Club on Indonesian Politics

    Rising Influence Hardline Islam & Billionaires Club on Indonesian Politics

    After having carefully followed the 2017 gubernatorial election in Indonesia's capital city of Jakarta, there are a couple of worrying signs. One, the rising influence of hardline Islam on Indonesian politics (and prosecution). Two, the rising influence of a handful of Indonesian "billionaire" businessmen, led by controversial Prabowo Subianto, who seek the highest political power within Southeast Asia's largest economy. Three, the cooperation between the two aforementioned forces as they each strive to fulfill their (separate) ambitions.

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  • Politics in Indonesia: Why is the Jakarta Election Important?

    Politics in Indonesia: Why is the Jakarta Election Important?

    Jakarta's gubernatorial election is important for two reasons: (1) it is an important test case to determine the current state of religious and ethnic tolerance (pluralism) within Indonesia, and (2) it forms a prelude to Indonesia's 2019 presidential and parliamentary elections. Today, the second round of the Jakarta gubernatorial election is held, a tight race between incumbent Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok) and former education minister Anies Baswedan.

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  • Politics of Indonesia: Has Democracy Gone Over the Top?

    Politics of Indonesia: Has Democracy Gone Over the Top?

    At the inauguration of the People's Conscience Party (Hanura)'s new central leadership board on Wednesday (22/02), Indonesian President Joko Widodo said "Indonesian democracy has recently gone over the top". He referred to the various controversial cases and demonstrations that have emerged in recent months involving hate speech related to race, religion, ethnicity and class.

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  • Politics in Indonesia: Jakarta's 2017 Gubernatorial Election

    Politics in Indonesia: Jakarta's 2017 Gubernatorial Election

    It is not a coincidence that ethnic, religious and social tensions have risen in Indonesia ahead of Jakarta's gubernatorial election on 15 February 2017. Indonesian Police is currently making over hours as various people, including political and religious leaders, have been reported to police for blasphemy or hate speech. One of the people that is being trialed is incumbent Jakarta Governor Basuki Purnama Tjahja (Ahok), who is one of the three men who compete to become the capital's next governor.

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  • Politics of Indonesia: Anti-Ahok Demonstration with Political Motives

    Politics of Indonesia: Anti-Ahok Demonstration with Political Motives

    On Friday (04/11) a massive demonstration is scheduled to be staged in Jakarta. In this protest rally thousands of people are expected to gather to ventilate their disapproval of incumbent Jakarta Governor Basuki Cahaya Purnama (better known as Ahok). The rally is organized by a coalition of Islamic groups including hard-line group Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) which has often used violence to achieve their targets. The Muslim groups accuse Ahok of blasphemy by misquoting Quranic verses during a speech in Kepulauan Seribu, off the coast of Jakarta, in early October.

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  • Analysis Performance & Accomplishments Indonesia Under Jokowi

    Analysis Performance & Accomplishments Indonesia Under Jokowi

    After two years in office, the time is ripe now to take a look at the performance and accomplishments of the government under the leadership of Joko Widodo, often called Jokowi. Indonesia's seventh president was a bit unlucky. In the first year of his rule, commodity prices were at multi-year lows (curbing Indonesia's foreign exchange earnings) amid sluggish global economic growth, while capital outflows from Indonesia occurred on the back of monetary tightening in the USA, sending the rupiah to a 17-year low in September 2015.

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  • Politics Indonesia: Arcandra Tahar & Ignasius Jonan Back in Cabinet

    Politics Indonesia: Arcandra Tahar & Ignasius Jonan Back

    On Friday (14/10) Indonesian President Joko Widodo appointed Ignasius Jonan as Indonesia's new Energy and Mineral Resources Minister. Jonan is the nation's former Transportation Minister who was replaced by Budi Karya Sumadi in a cabinet reshuffle in late July 2016. Meanwhile, the position of Energy and Mineral Resources Minister had been empty (although for the time being filled by Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan) after the dismissal of Arcandra Tahar in mid-August 2016.

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