With the election of its new president, Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, Indonesia is now entering a new era. In the current Asia Policy Brief, Andreas Ufen, senior research fellow at the GIGA Institute of Asian Studies in Hamburg, examines what the victory means for the country's democratic development.
According to Ufen, Indonesia is at the beginning of a new political era and could become the example of a relatively successful transition towards democracy for all of Southeast Asia. With about a quarter billion citizens, Indonesia is the world's largest Muslim-majority country and of immense importance for Pacific Asia's economic, political and security situation. As a result, political events there have a profound impact throughout Southeast Asia. The 2014 parliamentary and presidential elections were, however, hardly reported in the foreign media. The presidential elections in particular turned out to be a hard test for the young democracy.
Ufen argues that Jokowi's victory could mark the definitive end of the "New Order". This term stands for the reign of General Suharto, who ruled the country from 1966-1998 as a dictator. The legacies of the "New Order" are still burdening Indonesia. The election results could initiate a new era in Indonesian politics and contribute to consolidating the still fragile young democracy. The prerequisite for this is, however, is that Jokowi manages to free himself from the embrace of his coalition partners. With a reform cabinet, he could be able to enforce the fight against corruption, push infrastructure projects, and slowly replace the still-virulent legacies of the New Order.
In the Asia Policy Briefs renowned experts and authors from the Bertelsmann Stiftung analyze important developments in Asia and their consequences for Germany and Europe. The short briefing papers focus on current events as well as underlying trends in important Asian countries All Asia Policy Brief editions can be downloaded here. The current edition can be downloaded below.