Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, sworn in as Indonesia's seventh president Monday (October 20th), emphasised hard work and unity in his inaugural speech to the nation.
"This is a moment for us together to work, work, and work," the 53-year-old former furniture exporter said in a speech shortly after taking the oath of office at the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) in Jakarta.
"This is the time that we continue the Indonesian history of being a self-sufficient country, economically and politically and culturally," Jokowi said. "This is an important task, and I am confident that this task can be achieved with unity, responsibility and hard work."
Later in the evening, after addressing tens of thousands of people gathered at the National Monument (Monas), Jokowi presented nasi tumpeng – a cone of yellow rice, Indonesia's national dish – to four women he said exemplified this ethic of hard work: a taxi driver, two Papuan market sellers and the country's first Physics Olympiad gold medallist, Josephine Monica.
A post-inauguration concert and street party with free food followed. Organisers released 17,400 lanterns skyward, symbolising new hope for each island in the archipelago.
Hopeful and realistic
In the midst of the festivities, Indonesians were enthusiastic but realistic about the challenges the new administration faces.
Surabaya Airlangga University student Ilhan Nuryanto cheered Jokowi, saying, "we are awaiting your promises."
Gadjah Mada University student Purnama Putra was more reserved. "I hope he will lead Indonesia as good as he promised. I am afraid he will not able to do so. He is still relatively young, and he has a vice president that is much older than him. We wish Jokowi will use his power wisely," Purnama said.
Paramadina University international relations lecturer Djayadi Hanan appreciated Jokowi "as a leader who does not put space between himself and the public," but said he wants to see the new president stay particularly vigilant on economic campaign promises.
"Another challenge is to improve Indonesia's economic growth, which slumped to 5% the past two years after successful years of 2011-2012 that showed over 6% growth," Djayadi said.
"Despite fast economic growth during the SBY (Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono) era, the gap between the poor and rich is widening."
Medan resident Buitu Sitomorang told Khabar he believes Jokowi will do a great job, despite economic, political, extremist and religious conflicts and challenges.
"We should put aside our doubts and work together to achieve a greater Indonesia under Jokowi's presidency. Nothing will be perfect, but we will do our best," he said.
Indonesia's diverse religious community prayed for the new leaders and harmony for the nation in religious ceremonies held on inauguration eve.
"The public wants to take the opportunity to pray for the best for their new leaders," Nusron Wahid, chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama's (NU) Ansor Youth Movement, said in a statement as mass prayers were held at Sunda Kelapa Mosque, Jakarta Cathedral and Wira Satya Bhuana Hindu Great Temple.
"May Allah bless them and bring prosperity to the country."
Father Beni Soesetyo, a Catholic priest from the Indonesian Bishops Council, hoped the prayers would give strength to Jokowi and Vice President Jusuf Kalla, "so they are able to bring glory and justice to the country".
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