22 Oct 2014

Jokowi focus on Papua may lack support

9:44 am on 22 October 2014

Efforts by Indonesia's new President to solve political, social and economic issues in Papua region may be restricted by a lack of support from national parliamentarians.

Joko Widodo, who was inaugurated on Monday, has indicated that addressing lingering grievances of West Papua will be one of his first priorities.

A South East Asia and Pacific specialist, Damien Kingsbury from Deakin University, says the President has made contact with West Papuan political leaders who believe there is scope for discussion about a way forward.

But he warns that even if Jokowi forges some agreement, he could struggle to get it through a hostile legislature.

"The Indonesian parliament is overwhelmingly set against Joko Widodo as President and has threatened to derail his Presidency; and if he tried to resolve the West Papua issue - something that's very, very controversial in Jakarta - my guess is he would run into a great deal of resistance within the parliament."

Damien Kingsbury.