(This article was also published in South East Asia Research 2016, Vol. 24(2) 204–221)
Just a few months into his first term, the new president of Indonesia, Jokowi, began to disappoint his supporters who had expected his presidency to enhance the quality of Indonesia’s dysfunctional democracy. Contrary to his campaign promise of establishing a ‘clean’ and ‘professional’ government without horse-trading, Jokowi granted strategic government positions to those with links to oligarchic interests, indicating that key decisions were largely dictated by his party patrons. Much of the literature, which has tended to portray the rise of Jokowi as a challenge to oligarchic interests, is not well placed to account for this ‘U-turn’. Against this backdrop, this article explores another dimension of Jokowi’s ascendance, arguing that it should also be understood in the broader context of oligarchic adaptation of ‘post-clientelist’ initiatives – measures to attract enlightened voters to compensate for increasingly ineffective clientelistic mobilisation. This is not to argue that Jokowi was simply made a ‘puppet’ of his patrons, but to suggest that more attention needs to be directed to the broader structural constraints placed on Jokowi in order to have a more nuanced understanding of the political context in which he must operate.
Author: Yuki Fukuoka & Luky Djani
Publisher: SAGE Publishing
File size: 179 kB