Backgrounder

Tenggara Backgrounder March 15

How Indonesia pulls off the largest one-day election
In 2014, Indonesia’s general election was already billed as the largest one-day election in the world. This year, it will be even larger, and on top of setting another record, it will also be far more complex. This year, the presidential and legislative elections will be held on the same day, while five years ago, there was a four-month gap between the two. More than 192 million people have been registered to vote, and nearly 300,000 people are vying for more than 20,000 seats up for grabs, including the most coveted presidential job.



Andi Arief and Democrat's impunity
The public woke up to the surprised arrest of Democratic Party’s outspoken deputy secretary-general Andi Arief at Menara Peninsula Hotel in West Jakarta, on March 3 for alleged drug abuse. But the police soon released Andi after he allegedly finalized the administrative process. The police also confirmed they would not investigate the case. They only required Andi to report to the National Narcotics Agency (BNN), which would organize his rehabilitation. The police’s immediate discharge of Andi, despite the evidence of drug abuse, has left many wondering if the politician has acquired legal impunity. The police’s inconsistent statements, furthermore, exacerbate the confusion over Andi’s legal status.
 


Can IA-CEPA turn the tide for Indonesia?
IA-CEPA holds promise for closer bilateral engagement between Indonesia and Australia. Both governments are optimistic that (IA-CEPA) marks the beginning of a closer bilateral relationship. Australian Trade Minister Simon Birmingham even claimed that economic relations between the two countries would grow deeper, stronger and richer, while empowering people-to-people ties and understanding through the enhanced business cooperation and trade activity. However, there are still questions as to whether the trade deal will cure Indonesia’s faltering export of manufactured goods to Australia.


 
Masela project hits another wall
The Masela Block in Maluku is one of few remaining hopes for Indonesia to rein in the declining trend of oil and gas output. However, the Masela Block has seen a series of unfortunate events under the administration of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo that would likely further delay its timeline to production, initially slated to be in 2024 with offshore facilities, then 2027 with onshore facilities. But that has become more uncertain following the stark differences between the government, allegedly deputy minister Archandra Tahar and contractors, Inpex and Shell.