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

What does the 1965 violence have to do with Ratna Sarumpaet? Hellena Souisa examines two incidents that demonstrate how serious the problem of hoaxes has become for Indonesian politics.

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.

President Joko Widodo surprised many when he selected Islamic cleric Ma’ruf Amin as his vice presidential running mate. Dr Budhy Munawar Rachman looks at Ma’ruf’s record at the Indonesian Council of Ulama (MUI) and writes that if the pair are elected, things could become a lot worse for religious minorities.

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.

Last month, Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) leaders criticised a senior Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) figure for visiting Israel, sparking a furious online campaign of retaliation from young NU-linked activists. Associate Professor Greg Fealy takes a closer look at the escalating tensions and what they might mean for next year’s elections.

On 27 June, Indonesia held elections for mayors and governors in 154 districts and 17 provinces. In Talking Indonesia this week, Dr Dave McRae and a panel of leading political observers, Dr Charlotte Setijadi, Dr Philips Vermonte and Dr Eve Warburton, discuss the results and the broader implications for Indonesian politics.

To mark 20 years since the fall of Soeharto and the New Order regime, Indonesia at Melbourne is speaking to a range of prominent figures about their views on the reform process. Today we speak to Todung Mulya Lubis, human rights lawyer and recently appointed Indonesian Ambassador to Norway.