Indonesia profile - Leaders

  • 20 October 2014
  • From the section Asia

President: Joko Widodo

Image caption Joko Widodo stresses his common touch

Joko Widodo won a closely fought presidential election in July 2014 on promises to break with the authoritarian past, improve welfare for the poor and take on corruption.

The election commission declared the Jakarta governor the winner with 53% of the vote.

His rival, former army general Prabowo Subianto, who won 47%, alleged widespread fraud and said he would challenge the result in court.

Mr Widodo is seen by many as relatively untainted by the county's endemic corruption and in touch with ordinary Indonesians as a result of his humble background.

Known as "Jokowi", the former furniture maker is especially popular with the urban and rural young.

His campaign platform called for "mind-set revolution" to end the corruption, nepotism and intolerance Mr Widodo believes flourished during the 31-year-long dictatorship of former President Suharto.

He also promised a strong focus on education and modern technology, including e-governance.

Critics said he lacked political experience and would struggle to push through his agenda, as his Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle (PDI-P), has only 37% of seats in parliament.

Opponents claimed he would be the puppet of the PDI-P's veteran leader, Megawati Sukarnoputri, a former president and daughter of Indonesia's independence leader, Sukarno. Mr Widodo's allies insist he will be his own man.

Born in 1961 in Solo as the son of a wood-seller, Mr Widodo was elected mayor of Solo - a city in the centre of Java - in 2005 and gained popularity with policies aimed at boosting small and local businesses.

Mr Widodo then went on to run for the position of governor of Jakarta, winning an emphatic victory in 2012.

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