Joko Widodo, the son of a poor wood-seller, was sworn in on Monday as president of Indonesia, succeeding Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
The 53-year-old former Jakarta governor is the first Indonesian president not to have emerged from the country’s political elite or to have been an army general, the New York Times reported.
With a Quran, the holy book of Islam, held above his head, Widodo took the oath of office during a nationally televised special session of the People’s Consultative Assembly.
Jusuf Kalla also took the oath of office as the country’s vice president during the session.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore, Prime Minister Tony Abbott of Australia and US Secretary of State John Kerry were among the foreign dignitaries who attended the ceremony.
Widodo took 53 percent of the vote, defeating Prabowo Subianto, a former general and son-in-law of the late strongman Suharto.
Subianto leads a coalition of opposition parties that controls a majority of the seats and all the leadership positions in the House of Representatives. The coalition has vowed to challenge Widodo’s policies.
But Widodo has said he expects members of Subianto’s coalition to eventually switch sides and join his administration, thereby giving him a majority and increasing his ability to pass legislation.
The new president has promised more government programs for farmers, fishermen and other traditional laborers, and more spending on health care and social services for the poor.
On foreign policy, Widodo said he plans to turn Indonesia into a “maritime power”, the report said.
– Contact us at [email protected]