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Rule of law, anti-corruption, anti-terrorism and militant Islam: Coping with threats to democratic pluralism and national unity in Indonesia

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Abstract:

Abstract: 

President Yudhoyono, Indonesia's first directly elected president, was swept into office on a wave of popular support, but was faced with a formidable array of challenges, each demanding a prompt and effective response. Among the most immediately pressing, calling for crisis management, were: first, the need to assert political control and to build an effective political coalition; second, the need to secure grass-roots democracy by ensuring that regional elections were effectively carried out; third, the need to cope with the Aceh tsunami crisis and achieve a peaceful reconciliation with the Free Aceh Movement; and fourth, the need to resolve a series of socioeconomic policy ‘growth versus equity’ dilemmas, to attract foreign investors to stimulate export-led growth, while securing basic needs and anti-poverty social programmes. After briefly noting how Yudhoyono and his administration responded to these immediate problems during its first 20 months in office (to June 2006), the paper then discusses at greater length three more fundamental and intractable sets of problems, namely, the urgent need to implement judicial and administrative reform, and to launch a wide-ranging anti-corruption campaign; the need to confront the resurgence of militant Islamic terrorism, both inter-communal and al-Qaeda-inspired, and to mount a robust anti-terrorist campaign; and finally the intense and convoluted problem of inter-sectarian animosities, and the clash of religious versus secular values, the reconciliation of which will be absolutely critical to securing social stability, democratic pluralism, national unity and Indonesia's futurity.

Keywords: anti-corruption; anti-terrorism; democratic pluralism; militant Islam; rule of law

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8373.2007.00335.x

Affiliations: Centre for Southeast Asia Research, C. K. Choi Building, 1855 West Mall, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada., Email: gbh@interchange.ubc.ca

Publication date: April 1, 2007

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