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Looking ahead 2018

Widodo in a sweet spot -- for now

Indonesian president has defused Muslim extremist but faces multiple challenges before 2019 election

| Indonesia
With domestic politics under control, Indonesian President Joko Widodo should be watching out for destabilizing factors on the international front.   © Reuters

Indonesia's President Joko Widodo can look to next year in a far more relaxed way than he faced 2017. At the end of 2016, radical Islamic groups, notably the Islamic Defenders' Front (FPI), staged huge demonstrations in protest at the blasphemy allegedly committed by the governor of Jakarta, Basuki "Ahok" Purnama, an ethnic Chinese.

The protests, capturing the support of hundreds of thousands of Muslims, shook Widodo's confidence and seemed briefly to threaten his own political survival as 2017 approached.

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