Can Prabowo Coherently Govern Indonesia?

(MENAFN- Asia Times) Indonesia's president-elect, Prabowo Subianto, won February's presidential election in a landslide victory of nearly 59% of the nationwide vote, more than double his nearest challenger.

But his party, Gerindra, fell far short of a majority in the parliamentary elections that took place at the same time. Gerindra was founded by Prabowo and its Political fortunes are inseparable from his personal popularity. Yet, the party won just 14.8% of the seats in Indonesia's House of Representatives (DPR).

And even the addition of all the parties that supported Probowo's presidential candidacy only brings his numbers up to 48% of the seats in the assembly. This support is also not a given when it comes to legislation or approval of budgetary allocations.

So, is this a recipe for confrontation and deadlock after the new president and parliament are sworn into office in October?

What's on Prabowo's agenda?

Under Indonesia's presidential system, Prabowo does not need a parliamentary majority to stay in office, but a troublesome parliament would be a major impediment for his government.

The parliament can be a check on executive power and the president's fiscal initiatives, as well as a tool for contesting his legislative program. Prabowo will therefore need to build a coalition of parties to back him.

In the previous two elections he lost to Joko“Jokowi” Widodo in 2014 and 2019, he waged divisive campaigns. He presented himself as an ultra-nationalist strongman figure and mobilized extreme elements of Indonesia's majority Islamic community.

This approach was seen by many analysts as threatening the traditionally inclusive nature of Indonesian politics and society.

In this year's election, however, Prabowo projected a more moderate image and largely committed himself to a continuation of Jokowi's programs. He did not campaign on major new policy initiatives or structural reforms.


Asia Times

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