Jokowi’s government has spent big on infrastructure over the past five years. Akhmad Misbakhul Hasan takes a look at where the money has come from, and where some – but not all – of it has gone.

Is Indonesia’s democracy for sale? In Talking Indonesia this week, Dr Jemma Purdey chats to Dr Ward Berenschot about local election campaigns and behind the scenes machinations, and the informal networks based on patronage and identity politics that play a major role in local politics.

Abdil Mughis Mudhoffir and Rafiqa Qurrata Ayun write that rather than dismissing non-voters as apathetic or irresponsible, it is far more productive to reflect on how they can contribute to strengthening democracy.

The number of local politicians arrested for bribery by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) over the past two years has been astonishing. Adnan Topan Husodo writes that the KPK deserves credit for its efforts but a stronger focus on bigger players in Jakarta is needed.

The size and complexity of Indonesia’s fast approaching 2019 elections means unfairness is an ever-present threat in all aspects of the process. Titi Anggarini, the director of the Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem), runs through some of the most pressing concerns.

In the first post in our new Policy in Focus series, Dr Ward Berenschot presents research looking at how common clientelism really is in Indonesia. A survey of more than 500 experts found that perceptions of clientelism varied considerably, and the character of local economies played an important role.

Both pairs of presidential candidates are targeting women voters, and seeking to capitalise on “the power of emak-emak“. Dr Dina Afrianty writes that while historically many women saw the term emak as empowering, its recent use by politicians is far less complimentary.

Much has changed in the political landscape since Joko “Jokowi” Widodo faced off against Prabowo Subianto in the 2014 Presidential Election. In Talking Indonesia this week, Dr Dave McRae talks to Associate Professor Marcus Mietzner about how these changes might affect the 2019 presidential race.

The 2018 regional elections saw convincing wins for several young reform-minded local leaders. In Talking Indonesia this week, Dr Dirk Tomsa speaks to one of these leaders, Dr Bima Arya Sugiarto, about the challenges of reform in an environment where corruption and patronage is widespread.

Religious identity politics is increasingly becoming the norm in Indonesian elections. Dr Sandra Hamid calls for more attention to be paid to the period between elections, and how growing exclusivism in the practice of Islam can have implications for future electoral contests.

The General Elections Commission (KPU) has taken a bold step to prevent corruption convicts from participating in future elections. Bahruddin suggests that this approach could be augmented with a strategy to shame corrupt candidates and parties on the ballot paper.

Abdil Mughis Mudhoffir and Rafiqa Qurrata A’yun take a look at the results of the 2018 regional elections. Rather than reflecting national-level dynamics, they write, the behaviour of political parties and politicians at the local level is defined primarily by opportunism.