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(Opinion) Indonesia: Can Jokowi Recover?

2015-03-21 09:40:32       source:The Diplomat

By Jon Emont

March 19, 2015

"President Joko Widodo–popularly known as Jokowi–took office last October to extraordinarily high expectations. Jokowi was very different from the Indonesian presidents who came before him. He didn't come into office with a military background, or from the country's political aristocracy. He demonstrated his capacity for the presidency instead, by working doggedly as mayor and governor to solve local problems and respond to constituent concerns. He was a reformist who, on the campaign trail, promised to further empower the country's powerful anti-corruption bureau, and who made clear his commitment to protecting Indonesians right to elections.

When Jokowi won office by narrowly beating a right-wing general with strong ties to the country's recent dictatorship, it seemed that Indonesia's young democracy was finally beginning to produce competent, non-corrupt leaders. Jokowi promised to enact a "Mental Revolution," in which ordinary Indonesians would lose their tolerance for graft, and start demanding more from themselves and from their politicians. He immediately issued bold promises of reform, the boldest of which was that his cabinet would be filled entirely by technocrats, instead of the mediocre and often corrupt political appointees who usually run the country's powerful ministries."

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