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.

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.

How does support for political Islam correlate with other political attitudes in Indonesia, such as support for decentralisation, choice of a political party, or anti-Chinese sentiment? What are the implications of these correlations for upcoming regional and national elections? Dr Dave McRae explores these issues with Dr Diego Fossati in the latest Talking Indonesia podcast.

Over the past few months, the Constitutional Court has issued two decisions that will prevent governors and the Ministry of Home Affairs from revoking problematic local bylaws, or perda. Professor Simon Butt writes that while the decisions have yet to cause much controversy, they spell serious trouble for legal certainty and the rule of law.

What role do political dynasties play in Indonesian politics? What motivates political families to attempt to establish themselves as dynasties, and how do they do so? Dr Dave McRae discusses these issues and more with Dr Jemma Purdey, in the first Talking Indonesia podcast for 2017.

Indonesia has been praised for its relatively smooth transition from authoritarianism to democracy, especially in light of the dashed hopes of the Arab Spring. But the journey has not been easy. Dr Dewi Fortuna Anwar reflects on what Indonesia has achieved in the two decades since the start of the reformasi movement that led to the fall of Soeharto.

During the New Order period, the middle class was routinely depicted as small (less than 10 per cent of the population) and uninterested in democracy. According to Dr Gerry van Klinken, that picture now needs a serious overhaul. They are interested in democracy, he writes, and even more in decentralisation, and play a crucial role in holding the country together.