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2014年7月26日 (土)

(社説)インドネシア 民主主義の深化を

EDITORIAL: Indonesia's new president should push reforms to uphold democracy
(社説)インドネシア 民主主義の深化を
July 24, 2014

Voters in Indonesia have elected Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo as their new president. Joko will be a president who

is neither a former top military officer nor a man with a political pedigree.


Sixteen years have passed since the military dictatorship of strongman Suharto was toppled. We strongly hope that

Joko will push the nation further toward democracy and ensure that people will enjoy the benefits of change in all

parts of this southern fast-growing nation.


Outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono restored law and order during his 10-year tenure by taking effective

steps to eradicate terrorism. He managed to reach a historic peace agreement in 2005 with separatists in the restive

province of Aceh, bringing an end to a bloody, 30-year conflict.

Yudhoyono also made serious efforts to crack down on endemic corruption. But he failed to prevent the widening of

the gap between rich and poor, even though the nation’s economy regained stability and growth momentum.

Joko was born to a poor family, but carved out an impressive career in politics. He first became mayor of Surakarta, a

city in central Java, and then successfully ran for the governor of Jakarta.

While serving as the governor of the capital, Joko adopted policies to improve the well-being of the weak, especially in

the areas of education and health care, and also worked hard to promote competition and transparency in


He gained popularity by frequently going to towns to talk to people and quickly emerged as a major candidate for the


Indonesia became infested with corruption, collusion and nepotism under the Suharto regime. Every sector of

Indonesian society is still plagued by these evils.

Joko’s main rival, Prabowo Subianto, who supported Suharto's dictatorial rule as an army general, surged after

campaigning began in early June, turning the election into a neck-and-neck race. His strong showing indicates that

many Indonesians are longing for a powerful leader.


But the election results mean that the president-elect, a non-elite politician with no inclination toward

authoritarianism, has won a public mandate to push through reforms to break down the vested interests.

Still, there are many reasons to be concerned about Joko’s leadership. He has no experience in national politics and

his Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle and other parties that supported him have less than 40 percent of the

seats in the nation’s parliament.

Joko’s failure to gain a good lead on his contender in the election may deny him a strong political standing. His

diplomatic prowess is also an unknown factor.

Indonesia has a population of 250 million people, the fourth largest in the world. With half of them below the age of

30, the country’s working population is expected to keep growing until around 2030.


Indonesia is an important recipient of Japanese aid and investment and a key growing market for Japanese


The members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are seeking to form an economic and political union next


As political turmoil in Thailand continues, Indonesia’s leadership within the bloc will face a crucial test in ASEAN’s

quest to form the union.

Indonesia puts top priorities on ensuring unity among ASEAN members and maintaining a balance of power within

Asia. The country does not want to be dragged into the conflict between Japan and China.

Japan should be well aware of Indonesia’s position while providing as much support as possible for the Joko

administration’s efforts to push the country up the ladder of democracy and reform.

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 24


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