Indonesian corruption case threatens instability

Indonesian corruption case threatens instability

Jakarta’s Corruption Court is expected to begin proceedings today against former Parliamentary Speaker Setya Novanto, who stands accused of receiving some $7 million to rig procurement contracts for a national identity card program. The trial marks a significant victory for Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission and poses a challenge to President Widodo’s governing coalition, of which

Indonesian judge in Setya Novanto pre-trial hearing

Photo: Antara/Puspa Perwitasari

Jakarta’s Corruption Court is expected to begin proceedings today against former Parliamentary Speaker Setya Novanto, who stands accused of receiving some $7 million to rig procurement contracts for a national identity card program.

The trial marks a significant victory for Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission and poses a challenge to President Widodo’s governing coalition, of which Novanto’s former Golkar Party is the second largest member.

In a case seen as a test of corruption-fighting in Southeast Asia, the trial’s outcome is likely to have significant ramifications for Indonesia’s political class. Due to Novanto’s seniority as the former chair of the Golkar Party, a guilty verdict would result in upheaval and significant leadership changes for most Indonesian political parties.

With a guilty verdict anticipated, expect short-term political instability for Indonesia’s government ahead of a tough 2018 election season. Further corruption allegations against other members of the ruling coalition could imperil the government’s legislative agenda and could also prove difficult for presidential candidates seeking the top job in 2019.

 

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