In this briefing:
- Refusniks Vs KPU / Tension Persists / Slow Count / Minister Talks Labor Regs “Reform” / Headless PLN
- Buy Cyclicals? US Fed Hijacked By Big Jump In Global Capital Flows
1. Refusniks Vs KPU / Tension Persists / Slow Count / Minister Talks Labor Regs “Reform” / Headless PLN
Prabowo persists in refusing to acknowledge the election outcome, while attempting to delegitimize electoral authorities. He has rejected an emissary from the president and declared victory four times, while top figures in his campaign are issuing bellicose remarks about ‘no return’ and ‘total war’. A Third Clerics Conference is undergoing preparation and Prabowo seems likely to eventually deploy Islamist demonstrators, who have proven their ability to inundate Jakarta. Security forces are assembling personnel and preparing for confrontations, although these might not occur until late May or June. Ultimately, a second term for Widodo is not in jeopardy. But, in the meantime, disruptions seem likely to damage Indonesia’s image, spook investors (especially domestic) and pressure the exchange rate.
Politics: Tensions remain elevated as Gerindra Chair Prabowo Subianto has shown no signs of wavering from his stance that he is the rightful winner of the presidential election. He has conducted four victory celebrations to date, while rejecting Quick Count indications of the result, impugning the work of the General Election Commission (KPU) and refusing to meet with the president’s ‘emissary’ (Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Panjaitan). Bellicose rhetoric has emanated from top aides: the chair of Prabowo’s official campaign team, former Military Chief Gen (ret) Djoko Santoso, insisted that the declaration of a win with 62 percent of the vote is a “point of no return”. The Prabowo supporter Amien Rais, founder of the National Mandate Party (Pan), warned that, “If [the administration] wants to engage in ‘total war’, we are better able to wage it.” Prabowo conducted a rally for campaigners on 24 April but prohibited journalists from covering it (when one activated a camera, he reportedly suffered a beating). The Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) is calling for a Third Conference of Clerics to address election cheating. Tensions could subside if Prabowo changes course – which, given his mercurial character – could occur at any time. But indications to date suggest he will continue rejecting the Real Count, eventually reject the official count and finally reject a Constitutional Court ruling if it is adverse. He would then likely mobilize strident Islamic groups to protest, with potential for disruptions in Jakarta (Page 2). Security officials generated headlines by transferring several Police Mobil Brigade (Brimob) companies from remote provinces to Jakarta (p. 4). Prabowo’s running mate, Sandiaga Uno, ruled out returning to the Jakarta vice‑governor post (p. 5).
Produced since 2003, the Reformasi Weekly Review provides timely, relevant and independent analysis on Indonesian political and policy news. The writer is Kevin O’Rourke, author of the book Reformasi. For subscription info please contact: <[email protected]>.
Justice: State Power Company (PLN) Chief Director Sofyan Basir became a suspect in the Riau-1 powerplant case. Since 2014 he has dominated decisions on structuring projects, and his removal may therefore trigger changes. State Minister for State Enterprises Rini Soemarno will likely attempt to impose control through PLN’s interim head (p. 6).
Policy News: For the second time this month, the labor minister made uncharacteristic calls for regulatory reform to realize flexibility and encourage investment. But he has also pledged to satisfy demands made during the campaign by labor unions (p. 8).
Vote Count: With 36% of the Real Count uploaded, Widodo has 56.1% (p. 11).
Economics: GDP growth may have reached 5.2 percent during the first quarter, according to Bank Indonesia (BI). First quarter revenues are low and budget cuts may receive consideration (p. 13).
- World (gross) cross-border flows have rebounded strongly
- Global Liquidity and World Business cycle are increasing driven by cross-border flows
- Strong cross-border flows drive outperformance of cyclicals and non-US markets