Joko Widodo — who rose from obscurity and life as a furniture maker to become a small city mayor and governor of the nation’s capital — is now Indonesia’s seventh president.
Joko takes over leadership of the world’s third-largest democracy from Susilo BambangYudhoyono, who leaves after serving his second five-year term.
At the top of Joko’s list is to tackle corruption within government. He also needs to boost the nation’s infrastructure development, and money taken from fuel subsidies can help finance construction of projects such as roads, sea ports and railroads. But it won’t be easy with many Indonesians accustomed to subsidized prices of gasoline and diesel.
In a nation of about 250 million people — the world’s fourth largest by population — and abundant in natural resources like copper, gold and timber, Joko needs to contend with a commodities boom that has now faded and a trade deficit that threatens to further undermine economic growth.
As more people across the country’s 34 provinces move out of poverty and into the ranks of the middle class, many will still live on less than $2 a day — further widening the wealth gap.
Politically, after a narrow victory in the July 9 election, he faces a legislature that is controlled by opposing political parties, and that may hinder progress on pushing his reforms