Can Indonesia’s new government take on reform?

Nice article in the Australian press by ANU Indonesia Project leaders Hal Hill and Budy Resosudarmo, with the paradoxical title “Economic ‘quick wins’ may take time.”  They see a cabinet dominated by managers, rather than reformers, but welcome its relatively “clean” makeup.  They also provide a succinct (and rather depressing) summary of the political, administrative and institutional barriers to effective reform:

“Indonesia is an immensely complicated country to govern. Jokowi has attempted to induce some parties from the fiercely obstructionist “red and white” opposition coalition to join his governing coalition. But he still does not possess a majority in the Parliament, the DPR. In any case, national governments in Indonesia have limited room to manoeuvre. They have to deal with more than 500 increasingly assertive subnational governments. A good deal of the national budget is effectively pre-committed through various expenditure mandates. And Jakarta has to rely on a sluggish, unreformed bureaucracy to implement policies.”




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