While Jokowi's approval ratings remain robust—The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) pinned it at 66 percent in a survey last month—there is a sense of growing impatience with his reform agenda.
Employment growth is now slower than population growth, while moderating economic growth—hit by the global commodity slump—has resulted in a weaker pace of poverty reduction, the World Bank said in a report last month. "More needs to be done in terms of spreading the wealth horizontally to prevent the income gap from widening," observed Bilveer Singh, associate professor at the National University of Singapore.
External geopolitical threats in the form of terrorism and Sino-American competition in the South China Sea, which borders Indonesia's gas-rich Natuna region, are also problematic.
But the biggest thorn in the President's side remains internal politics.
"Keeping various competing elite factions on side and playing ball will prove a tough task in the run up to 2019," stated Brennan.
Megawati Sukarnoputri, chairwoman of the ruling party Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and a former President, is seen as Jokowi's toughest opponent.
"He has realized he cannot advance reforms without political support ... As long as she leads the party, Jokowi will have to kiss the ring and satisfy her interests to ensure she does not intervene in daily policymaking," explained Sukarsono.
The President can currently only make inroads in certain sectors---infrastructure, fiscal, and the creative economy---but in order to see progress in other areas, such as anti-corruption and human rights, he must be strong enough to negotiate with vested interests that resist reforms there, Sukarsono continued.
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