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New President of Indonesia Sworn In

October 26, 2014
Plain English Version


Indonesia has the fourth largest population of any country in the world. Only China, India and the United States have more people.

Last Monday, a new Indonesian president was sworn in. His name is Joko Widodo. He is not a member of the nation’s ruling elite. He is not a military man. He was the governor of Jakarta, the capital of the nation. He calls himself a “common man.”

Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim-majority population. It has the largest economy in Southeast Asia.

However, it is not a major player on the world scene. And its political situation is delicate. Dictators and authoritarians have ruled the country in the past. Even now, the opposition threatens to oppose the new president’s policies.

President Joko will take action against those who are dishonest and the giving and taking of bribes. He also says it takes too long to get things done.

The economy is divided between rich and poor. And the divide is growing. More than 100 million people live on $2 a day or less.

High office has not changed the humble habits of the new president. As governor of Jakarta, he wore plain white button-down shirts and dark slacks. The outfit cost less than $30. He frequently did not wear socks with his simple loafers. He has given interviews barefoot. He made daily walking tours through markets and slum areas. He talked with residents about bread-and-butter issues. This is a very different style in Indonesian politics.

Observers say Indonesia is on the brink of getting on the world stage. It could play a major role in world shipping. If a country has a personality, Indonesia’s would be low-key.

The new president is looking inward. He said, “This is a truly historic moment for all of us to come together. Through hard work and cooperation, we will be able to help all Indonesians.”

Source: The New York Times October 20, 2014

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