Indonesia's president, Joko Widodo (Jokowi), made a remarkable political recovery in 2016. During his first year in office, Jokowi had been overwhelmed by a combative and divided parliament, disunity in cabinet, tensions with his own party, and declining approval ratings. In 2016, however, Jokowi expanded his ruling coalition and consolidated his power, and his approval rating rose to almost 70%. By mid-2016, the president had achieved stable government for the first time since winning office. Political stability gave us greater clarity on Jokowi's agenda and the kind of Indonesia he wants to shape. I suggest that in 2016 a Jokowi-styled new developmentalism began to emerge. Jokowi's administration focused narrowly on infrastructure and deregulation; other problems of government were subordinated to these developmentalist goals. There are uncanny echoes of the past in the new developmentalism, and its conservative and nationalist features reflect political trends that pre-date Jokowi's presidency. Indeed, Jokowi's developmental strategy is neither unique nor coherent; his decision-making is defined by ad hocery. Instead, I argue, deeper structural features of Indonesia's socio-political landscape are making their mark on the president and returning Indonesia to its developmentalist moorings.
|Journal||Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies|
|Publication status||Published - 2016|