Speaking of Asia: Confident Jokowi sets the course for Indonesia

Getting Prabowo and Nadiem into the new Cabinet points to where he intends to steer the country in his second presidential term while avoiding some of its tricky undercurrents

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In July 2015, my editor Warren Fernandez and I travelled to Indonesia for an interview with the country's new President, Mr Joko Widodo. The meeting took place in Bogor - Mr Joko, an outsider to Jakarta's power elite, somehow seemed more comfortable in the presidential palace there than in the national capital. What's more, two key officials who advised him on economic and foreign policy frequently interrupted the interview, either to check the President on his figures or to steer his remarks in a certain direction.

I doubt that any official would dare to correct Mr Joko so openly these days. Certainly, not when there are outsiders in the room.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 25, 2019, with the headline Speaking of Asia: Confident Jokowi sets the course for Indonesia. Subscribe