The Newsletter 84 Autumn 2019

Jokowi’s election victory. Prospects and challenges

Terence Chong

As predicted by many polls, Joko Widodo (Jokowi) won the April 2019 presidential election, allowing him to serve the country for another five years. The 2019 election was a replay of the 2014 election where Jokowi defeated former military general Prabowo Subianto. In the 2019 election, Jokowi’s margin of victory improved by a meagre 4.7 per cent despite the developmental policies introduced during his first term. What can Indonesians expect from Jokowi’s second term? Will he be more aggressive in pushing for economic reforms and how will he handle greater political polarisation in the country?

The ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute’s Indonesian Studies Programme presents the following three articles to highlight the challenges confronting the president. On the economic front, though Jokowi promised to improve Indonesia’s business environment through deregulation and eradication of corrupt practices, the country’s decentralised law-making process has slowed down his efforts. On the religious front, his choice of conservative cleric Ma’ruf Amin as vice-president has raised questions as to what this would mean to pluralist and moderate voices in the country. Lastly, how will the Jokowi government manage the increased polarisation of Indonesian society? The election results show that while Jokowi remains popular in Java, he lost significant support in Aceh and West Sumatra. Uniting the nation will be Jokowi’s biggest challenge.

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