Indonesian Politics After the Widodo-Prabowo Rapprochement
by Max Lane
“With the end of this rhetorical contestation and sense of polarisation, the ‘penny has dropped’ that there is no counter-force to Widodo’s government or its policies. Widodo has, and has always had, a relatively free hand to drive his trategic socioeconomic agenda — one that is very narrowly based on GDP growth. This constitutes the overall framework for the new atmospherics.
After the rapprochement, the Parliament reached a virtually unanimous decision, with Presidential support, to pass revisions to the Corruption Eradication Commission Law
(KPK). This in effect weakened the Commission’s effectiveness. Additionally the regime clearly felt more confident in abandoning Widodo’s populist image with new policies perceived by many as being against the interests of the common people. This is most clearly manifested in the Omnibus Bill, some of whose provisions dismantling social protections for workers are discussed below. This, in turn, has provoked the stepping forward of mainstream media, in particular Tempo magazine, and of civil society, including labour and students, to provide the missing counter force.”
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