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The longer Jokowi has spent in the presidential palace, the more he has become deeply embedded in elite politics; calls for economic reform have been hamstrung by his nationalistic instincts and lack of implementation.   © Reuters
The Big Story

Dream state: Jokowi struggles to build his vision for Indonesia

President Widodo's infrastructure success has defined his presidency. But will the pandemic expose the flaws in his model?

BEN BLAND, Contributing writer | Indonesia

When Indonesian President Joko Widodo decided last year to pursue outlandish plans to build a new capital city in far-flung Kalimantan, advisers shook their heads in despair. But they were not surprised.

"Jokowi doesn't like analysis; he likes action and decisions," one official told me, using the president's universal nickname. "There was no proper analysis of which infrastructure projects would boost growth and productivity the most. Instead, he just pushed projects depending on where he was visiting."

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