Joko Widodo marks his first year as president of Indonesia this month. For many, he remains a symbol of hope for a better country; for others, his shtick is too good to be true. While the Indonesian media is obsessed with doing a “first 100 days” analysis of a presidency, it is a false barometer taken from Western countries. But one year on from Oct. 20, 2014, it is fair to ask the following: has Joko met our expectations as president? Or has he failed?
It is undeniable that Joko has had a difficult first year, and in retrospect, no one should have been surprised given Indonesia’s monumental power shift. Political reconciliation between his governing Awesome Indonesia Coalition and the opposition Great Indonesia Coalition led by Prabowo Subianto, who lost the 2014 presidential election to Joko, has not panned out. Furthermore, the president’s relationship with the country’s traditional and entrenched ruling political elite remains sketchy and continues to hamper his ability to push forward his agenda.
There is also a sense that Joko has been cautious and treaded lightly, not wanting to upset the political elite. A case in point was his failure to intervene in the latest dispute between the National Police and the Corruption Eradication Commission, which posed serious questions about his commitment to running a clean government and fighting corruption.
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