6 things about Joko Widodo, Indonesia's new president

Former Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo was sworn in as Indonesia’s seventh president at a ceremony in parliament on Monday morning. (Oct 20). 

Widodo, 53, took the oath at a ceremony in parliament before lawmakers and visiting foreign dignitaries such as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, US Secretary of State John Kerry, and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott. 

Widodo’s narrow victory over a former general in July’s election marked the first time in the young democracy’s history that a president was elected from outside the established military and political elite.

Just who is the man who will lead the world's third largest democracy, with a population of 250 million people.

Here are six things about the man.

1) He is a quintessential rags-to-riches story

Born to a son of a wood-seller in Solo, his family was evicted from his family home by the local government when he was growing up.

His family put that rough start behind him to put him through school.

He graduated with a degree in forestry from Gadjah Mada University and he eventually worked with his uncle in the furniture business where he excelled.

It was his success in the business arena that prompted his colleagues to push him to run for the mayorship of Solo, a city in the Indonesian island of Java in 2005.

After winning, he then ran for governor of Jakarta two years later.

This year, he upped the ante and put his name to the presidential race. 

One of the main reasons for his popularity is his rise from outside of Indonesia's traditional power structure.

2) He is a big fan of heavy metal.  


When heavy metal super group Metallica performed in Jakarta in August 2013, he was there head banging along with thousands of concert goers.

He lists his favourite bands as Megadeth, Lamb of God and Napalm Death.

Not exactly bands known for playing soft sentimental music.

3) He has vowed to get tough on the haze.​

Perhaps a subject that is dear to most Singaporeans.

The new president of Indonesia has vowed to fix the yearly problem.

In an interview with The Straits Times, he did not mince his words when he said that local authorities know who the culprits are and he will use his power to "give the necessary instructions".


4) He is known as Jokowi​

Indonesians tend to go with one name. In his case he is known in Indonesia as Jokowi, which is an abbreviation of his full name. But he was born Mulyono and changed his name.  

5) He is known for his transparency 

Jokowi and his vice governor,Basuki Tjahaja Purnama or Ahok initiated programs that are aimed towards transparency, such as online tax, e-budgeting, e-purchasing, and cash management system and famously the provincial budgets . 

6) Great thinker and leader

Jokowi was listed as one of "The Leading Global Thinkers of 2013" in Foreign Policy magazine. This year, he was listed by Fortune as one of the The World's 50 Greatest Leaders.

Source: World Population review Time, The Guardian, The Straits Times, Reuters, Foreign Policy, fortune, detikNews

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