October 20, 2014, millions of Indonesians witnessed the inauguration of its seventh president, entrepreneur-turned-politician Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.
Jokowi, 53, was mayor of Central Java’s town of Solo, from 2005 to 2012. He won the Jakarta gubernatorial election in 2012. And after two years as Jakarta’s governor, in July 2014 he decided to run for presidency.
Zulkifli Hasan, the new speaker of the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR), said it showcased Indonesia’s success in implementing democracy.
“It should be made a success because it is our image, Indonesia’s image that will be seen by the Indonesian people and the international community,” Zulkifli stated.
Monday’s presidential inauguration bears similarities to the inauguration of the United States President Barack Obama, stated constitutional law expert Refli Harun.
“Jokowi’s inauguration is the same as the inauguration of Obama. It has the same conditions. It attracted extraordinary public enthusiasm,” Refli remarked here on Tuesday.
Former chairman of the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) for the 2013-2014 term Sidarto Danusubroto explained that both Jokowi and Obama hailed from minority groups and were not earlier reckoned as the people’s leaders.
“Obama is the first black to be appointed as the United States president. Jokowi is neither a political party elite nor a general. He even hails from the Bengawan Solo river bank,” Sidarto added.
However, both Obama and Jokowi later emerged as the symbols of public power.
“In this case, Jokowi brings new hope to the people, but it serves as a challenge for Jokowi because the people have high expectations from his new government,” the former MPR chairman remarked.
Newly installed Vice President Jusuf Kalla stated that the public has high expectations from the new government, so whoever is nominated into the government should be ready to work hard.
“During the parade from the parliament building, I saw a large number of people gathered (to welcome us). This shows that the public’s expectations from the new government are very high. I told Jokowi about it as well,” he stated at the vice presidential memorandum handover at the vice president’s office on Monday.
Kalla admitted that he had never seen such a mass turnout of people as big as that seen during his and Jokowi’s inauguration as the new vice president and president, respectively. This made him realize the importance of his responsibilities and the need to execute them with sheer diligence.
Former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono hoped his successor, President Joko Widodo, will do much better work for Indonesia during his leadership term.
“May Mr. President (Joko Widodo) find success and do much better for the nation and state,” he said while leaving the parliament building where President Joko Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla took oaths on Monday.
Besides Yudhoyono and former Vice-President Boediono, the inauguration was also attended by Joko Widodo’s political rivals, Prabowo Subianto and Aburizal Bakrie.