Since 2001, Indonesia’s political decentralisation has opened fresh avenues for a new generation of local government executives to be elected. These new local leaders tend to promote novel styles of political leadership that are can transform how public policy and services are delivered at the local level. This report profiles a number of Indonesian local transformative leaders, most notably Surabaya Mayor Tri Rismaharini and Bandung Mayor Ridwan Kamil. The report finds a number of characteristics that helped them to become transformative local leaders, including: an ability to develop popular legitimacy among their citizens, independence from political parties, ability to promote innovative policy to reform local public services, having strong political networks with senior politicians and other stakeholders, an ability to handle setbacks, and having political pragmatism. It is not yet known if these local “transformative leaders” can change the nature of national-level politics in Indonesia that is often characterised to be dominated by “oligarchic” party leaders. Nonetheless, they certainly have changed how politics and public policy are being done within their respective localities.
About the Author
Alexander R. Arifianto is a Research Fellow with the Indonesia Programme, Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies (IDSS), S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. He earned his PhD in political science from Arizona State University in August 2012. Previously, he was a Visiting Fellow with the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) and at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame in Indiana, USA. Dr Arifianto’s ongoing projects in RSIS include research on comparative politics of Southeast Asia, decentralisation and local politics of Indonesia, and political Islam in Indonesia.
Country and Region Studies / General / Southeast Asia and ASEAN / Working Papers
Last updated on 12/12/2016