21 October 2014
The rise of President Joko Widodo ushers in yet another chapter , a significant one , in Indonesia’s long and seemingly unending transition to civilian democratic rule. The new president’s assumption of office yesterday was accompanied by widespread hope of a change in national fortunes spurred by what Widodo represents , a clear break from his predecessors.
President J0okowi, as he is fondly known, is not from the military, unlike Suharto or Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Though Muslim, neither is he from the Islamic voting bloc , a powerful constituency which only the military had been able to balance. He is also not drawn from the elite that spawned presidents Sukarno, Habibie and Megawati, or the religious class of Abdurahman Wahid. The 53-year-old Jokowi grew up in the slums, became a furniture entrepreneur and then emerged from the “woodwork” to become mayor of Solo in 2005, governor of Jakarta in 2012 and now president of the world’s fourth-largest country. Those three gigantic leaps took just nine years. This is as spectacular as it is unprecedented in Indonesian politics.
… Yang Razali Kassim is Senior Fellow with the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 21/10/2014