- Title: Profile of Indonesia's incumbent president Joko Widodo before his inauguration
- Date: 17th October 2019
- Summary: PALU, CENTRAL SULAWESI, INDONESIA (FILE - OCTOBER 3, 2018) (REUTERS) RESCUERS CARRYING BODY BAG WIDODO SHAKING HANDS WITH RESCUERS / WALKING AWAY MEDIA FOLLOWING WIDODO
- Embargoed: 31st October 2019 04:18
- Keywords: Indonesia election president Joko Widodo inauguration
- Location: JAKARTA, BOGOR, BALI, BANDUNG, CILACAP, RIAU PROVINCE, PALU, INDONESIA
- City: JAKARTA, BOGOR, BALI, BANDUNG, CILACAP, RIAU PROVINCE, PALU, INDONESIA
- Country: Indonesia
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA00MB1NGC3R
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Incumbent Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo is set to take office for his second term on Sunday (October 20) after a highly competitive presidential election that was marred by violence, allegations of vote-rigging and a court hearing.
Widodo promised to open up investment opportunities in a country where red tape and vested interests remain a potent force discouraging foreign capital and to reform the country's unwieldy bureaucracy.
He also emphasised plans to improve human resources in a country that is lagging some of its neighbours in developing a skilled workforce.
Born in 1961 to a humble family in the Indonesian city of Solo on Java island, Widodo developed a successful furniture business before moving into regional politics. He was the first Indonesian president to come from outside the political or military establishment.
His rags-to-riches story and common man approach have made him popular with many Indonesians, and he is seen as having a clean, can-do image that has catapulted him from small-town mayor to governor of the capital within two years.
In 2014, after two years in office as Jakarta's governor, he was nominated as the presidential candidate to run for the election. Widodo and running mate Jusuf Kalla, a popular former vice president, narrowly won the closely-fought election.
During Widodo's first year in office he hosted a high-level Asian African Conference where leaders from the two continents gathered in Jakarta to mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment.
But Widodo's first major test on the global stage came when he refused to grant clemency to foreign drug convicts, drawing strong international criticism from Australia to Brazil.
Within his first year in office, 14 people were executed in Indonesia after a five-year death penalty moratorium, citing a "narcotics emergency" that Widodo said was killing at least 40 people a day.
Widodo's term faced further diplomatic pressure when the worst forest fires caused by slash-and-burn practices sent thick, hazardous smog to parts of Southeast Asia.
Help to combat the raging fires was sent from multiple nations after a national disaster was declared. Widodo took a tough stance by announcing restrictions in issuing new permits to plantation companies to develop peatland.
Widodo took office promising to boost annual economic growth to 7 percent and with an ambitious plan to build $350 billion worth of infrastructure across the poorly connected archipelago. However, annual growth has remained around 5 percent in recent years, while foreign investment last year was weak despite the president's efforts to improve the business climate.
Widodo also faced a number of devastating natural disasters under his term, ranging from eruptions of Mount Agung and Sinabung, to earthquakes in the resort island of Lombok and the disastrous tsunami that hit Palu, Central Sulawesi and Banten Province.
Despite stumbling progress, Widodo still remains popular in part because of his focus on developing regions such as New Guinea and other remote islands, as well as his achievements in narrowing the income gap.
(Production: Angie Teo)
- Copyright Holder: FILE REUTERS (CAN SELL)
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None