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Luhut B. Pandjaitan For The Straits Times

The promise of Jokowi's presidency

Published on Aug 15, 2014 11:47 AM
A vendor selling portraits of President-elect Joko Widodo and his running mate Jusuf Kalla in Jakarta after last month’s election. Expectations are high that Mr Joko will be able to peacefully push through necessary reforms. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

Despite winning this year's election, Mr Joko "Jokowi" Widodo must await the final and binding decision of Indonesia's Constitutional Court. Still, it is only a matter of time before he is sworn in as the nation's seventh president, most likely at the end of October.

Unlike his main rival, a former military man, Mr Joko cut his political teeth in post-Suharto Indonesia and is a product of the Reformasi generation. He comes from the ranks of problem-solving small city leaders rather than a national political organisation. He made his mark with his impressive capacity for getting things done peacefully. He stands out because he rose to national power through merit rather than the family, military or business connections that have helped Indonesian politicians in the past.

Under such a leader, one who has broken the mould, politics will not be business as usual. Mr Joko has not become president simply to enjoy the trappings of power for a few years. He is determined to make a difference and has the capacity to achieve much.

What are the implications of his rule for the nation and the region?

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