Joko Widodo sworn in as Indonesia’s Seventh President


Joko Widodo (known as Jokowi) was sworn in today as Indonesia’s Seventh President with Jusuf Kalla as his Vice-President.

The inauguration of the new President went smoothly despite threats that the ceremony would be disrupted, with 672 of the 692 members of the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) attending. Former Presidents Baharudin Jusuf Habibie, Megawati Sukarnoputri, and Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono were also in attendance.

Joko Widodo won the 9th July Presidential election although his opponent in the second round, Prabowo Subianto, refused to accept the result. In recent days the two men have met and appear to have come to an arrangement with Jokowi describing Prabowo as his ‘best friend’ and ‘colleague’. Prabowo Subianto was in attendance and acknowledged the greeting.

Apart from economic issues, the new President faces a number of challenges as he starts his term including a parliament where he does not hold a majority and which has already shown itself willing to act independently. The President has indicated that he wishes to form a Cabinet with mainly technocrats, but in a country where Ministerial posts provide opportunities for political patronage this has not gone down well with the parties supporting him. Inevitably Jokowi has had to compromise and at least half of the Cabinet are expected to be political appointments.

In his inauguration speech the new President emphasised the need to work hard, saying, “To the fishermen, labourers, farmers, bakso vendors, street vendors, drivers, academics, teachers, military, police, entrepreneurs, and professionals, I urge you to work hard, because this is the historic moment for us all to move together, to work, work, and work”.

The President went on to say “Building a country cannot be done alone by its president and vice president, and the administration that I lead, but we need a collective strength. The next 5 years will be a momentum to show our freedom as a nation. Therefore, work, work, and work is the priority. I am certain with hard work and gotong royong we will be able to protect Indonesia as a whole, improve welfare, and contribute to the world order in accordance with the principles of freedom, eternal peace, and social justice”.

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