Jokowi’s first task: undermine dynasty politics

Tomorrow ushers in a new era for Indonesian politics. For the first time since 1957, when then president Sukarno did away with parliamentary democracy, the country will have an executive and a legislature that have different loyalties. But for the first time, too, there may be a chance of amputating the ageing hands that have so leadenly guided the nation’s political parties for the past decade and a half.

More Moslem than expected: the real surprise of Indonesia’s polls

Commentators on Indonesia’s parliamentary elections have been surprised by the relatively poor performance of front-runners PDIP (see the FT, the Jakarta Post, the Jakarta Globe for examples). But the real surprise is surely the much better than expected showing by Islamic parties. Islamic parties have seen their share of the vote slide steadily over the years. Just last week, the New York Times predicted that the PPP, the oldest Islamic party, would fail to make the threshold for parliamentary seats…

Ceremonial confusion: personality, politics and parties in Indonesia’s fiefdoms

It’s party season here in Weda, a newly-bustling town on the east coast of Halmahera island. There are parties and Parties, and the confusion of the two are a pretty good illustration of life in Indonesia’s districts, which are often run very much as personal fiefdoms of the Bupati, or regent. The Bupati is the elected head of the local government. He (it usually is a he) runs an executive that is supposedly held to account by the local parliament,…