Joko Widodo

Joko Widodo (born Mulyono,[1] 21 June 1961), also known as Jokowi, is an Indonesian politician who is the 7th and current president of Indonesia. Elected in July 2014 as the first president not to come from an elite political or military background, he was previously the Mayor of Surakarta from 2005 to 2012, and the Governor of Jakarta from 2012 to 2014.

Joko Widodo
Joko Widodo 2019 official portrait.jpg
7th President of Indonesia
Assumed office
20 October 2014
Vice PresidentJusuf Kalla (2014–2019)
Ma'ruf Amin (2019–present)
Preceded bySusilo Bambang Yudhoyono
14th Governor of Jakarta
In office
15 October 2012 – 16 October 2014
DeputyBasuki Tjahaja Purnama
Preceded byFauzi Bowo
Succeeded byBasuki Tjahaja Purnama
15th Mayor of Surakarta
In office
28 July 2005 – 1 October 2012
DeputyF. X. Hadi Rudyatmo
Preceded bySlamet Suryanto
Succeeded byF. X. Hadi Rudyatmo
Personal details

(1961-06-21) 21 June 1961 (age 59)
Surakarta, Central Java, Indonesia
Political partyPDI-P
(m. 1986)
ChildrenGibran Rakabuming Raka
Kahiyang Ayu
Kaesang Pangarep
FatherWidjiatno Notomiharjo
ResidenceBogor Palace, Merdeka Palace
Alma materGadjah Mada University
WebsitePresidential website

He achieved national prominence in 2009 for his work as the Mayor of Surakarta. A member of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), he was named as the party's candidate for the 2012 Jakarta gubernatorial election, alongside Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (often known as Ahok)[2] as his running mate.[3] Defeating incumbent Fauzi Bowo,[4] he took office in October 2012 and reinvigorated Jakartan politics, introducing publicised blusukan visits (unannounced spot checks)[5] and improving the city's bureaucracy, reducing corruption in the process. He also introduced years-late programs to improve quality of life, including universal healthcare, dredging the city's main river to reduce flooding, and inaugurating the construction of the city's subway system.[6]

The PDI-P nominated Jokowi, who was already seen as a rising star in Indonesian politics, for the 2014 presidential election.[7] Winning a majority of the popular vote, he was named president-elect on 22 July 2014, to bitter protest from his opponent Prabowo Subianto, who disputed the outcome and withdrew from the race before the count was completed.[8][9] As president, Jokowi has primarily focused on infrastructure, introducing or restarting long-delayed programs to improve connectivity in the Indonesian archipelago.[10] On foreign policy, his administration has emphasised "protecting Indonesia’s sovereignty",[11] with the sinking of illegal foreign fishing vessels[12] and the prioritising and scheduling of capital punishment for drug smugglers. The latter was despite intense representations and diplomatic protests from foreign powers including Australia and France.[13][14] He was re-elected in 2019 for a second five-year term, again defeating Prabowo Subianto.[15]

Early life and careerEdit

Joko Widodo was born Mulyono on 21 June 1961 and is of Javanese descent.[1] He is the eldest of four siblings and is the only son of Noto Mihardjo (father) and Sudjiatmi Notomihardjo (mother). He has three younger sisters, named Iit Sriyantini, Ida Yati, and Titik Relawati.[16][17] His father came from Karanganyar, while his grandparents came from a village in Boyolali.[18] Jokowi was often sick as a toddler, and his name was thus changed—a common practice in Javanese culture—to Joko Widodo, with widodo meaning "healthy" in Javanese.[1] At the age of 12, he started working in his father's furniture workshop.[19][20] Throughout his childhood, Jokowi's family constantly faced evictions from their landlords; this greatly affected him, and later in his career, he organised medical housing in Surakarta during his years as mayor of the city.[21]

Education and business careerEdit

Jokowi's education began at State Elementary School 111 Tirtoyoso, known for being a school for less wealthy citizens.[22] He continued his studies in State Junior High School 1 Surakarta,[23] and later wanted to attend State Senior High School 1 Surakarta, but failed the entrance exam and instead enrolled in State Senior High School 6 Surakarta.[24] Jokowi graduated from the Forestry faculty at Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, in 1985, where his work included studies and research on the use of plywood. He later began work at PT Kertas Kraft Aceh (id), a state-owned firm in the province of Aceh, Sumatra.[25] He worked in what is today Bener Meriah Regency between 1986 and 1988, as a supervisor of forestry and raw materials of a Pinus merkusii plantation.[26][27]

Jokowi, however, soon became uninterested in his activities in the firm and returned home. He then began working in his grandfather's furniture factory for a year before establishing his own company, Rakabu, whose namesake is his first child. The company, which mainly focused on teak furniture, nearly went bankrupt at one point but survived following a Rp 500 million loan from Perusahaan Gas Negara. By 1991, the company began exporting its products, and they were successful in international markets. The firm first established a presence in the European market in France, and it was a French customer named Bernard who gave Joko Widodo the nickname "Jokowi".[25][28][29]

By 2002, Jokowi had become the chairman of Surakarta's furniture manufacturers association.[29] Ultimately he decided to become a politician and promote reform in his home town, Surakarta, after seeing the neat layouts of some European cities while promoting his furniture there.[20] After becoming mayor, he also made a joint venture with politician and former lieutenant general Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, when the two founded PT Rakabu Sejahtera (from Rakabu and Luhut's PT Toba Sejahtera).[30][31]

Jokowi reported his net worth in 2018 to be Rp 50.25 billion (US$3.5 million), mostly in the form of property holdings in Central Java and Jakarta.[32]

Political careerEdit

Mayor of SurakartaEdit

Official Portrait of Joko Widodo as the Mayor of Surakarta
Jokowi as Surakarta's mayor and his deputy Hadi Rudyatmo in traditional Javanese costume.

After first joining PDI-P in 2004, Jokowi ran in the mayoral race in Surakarta in 2005 with F. X. Hadi Rudyatmo as his running mate, with the support of PDI-P and the National Awakening Party.[33][34] The pair won 36.62% of the vote against the incumbent Slamet Suryanto and two other candidates. During the campaign, many questioned his background as a property and furniture businessman. However, one academic paper claimed his leadership style was successful because it established an interactive relationship with the people, through which he was able to induce people's strong faith in him.[35] He adopted the development framework of European cities (which he frequently travelled to as a businessman) as a guide for changes in Surakarta.[36]

Jokowi's notable policies as mayor included:[37] Building new traditional markets & renovating existing markets, constructing a 7-km city walk with a 3-meter wide pedestrian walkway along Surakarta's main street, revitalising the Balekambang and Sriwedari parks, employing stricter regulations on cutting down trees along the city's main streets, rebranding the city as a centre of Javanese culture and tourism under the tagline 'The Spirit of Java', promoting the city as a centre for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE), launching healthcare and education insurance program for all residents, a local bus rapid transit system named Batik Solo Trans and a Solo Techno Park, which helped support the Esemka Indonesian car project.[38] It was during his tenure as mayor that he conducted the blusukan, an impromptu visit to specific areas to listen to people's issues, which proved popular later in his political career. He also prohibited his family members from bidding for city projects, therefore suppressing the risk of corruption.

His supporters pointed to rapid positive changes in Surakarta under his leadership and the branding the city with the motto 'Solo: The Spirit of Java'. While in office he successfully relocated antique stalls in the Banjarsari Gardens without incident, a helpful move in revitalising the functions of the open green land; he emphasised the importance of business firms engaging in community activities; he improved communications with the local community by appearing regularly on local television. As a follow-up of the new branding of the city, he applied for Surakarta to become a member of the Organization of World Heritage Cities, which was approved in 2006, and subsequently had the city chosen to host the organisation's conference in October 2008. In 2007, Surakarta had also hosted the World Music Festival (Festival Musik Dunia/FMD) which was held at the complex of Fort Vastenburg near the centre of the city. The FMD in 2008 was held in the Mangkunegaran Palace Complex.

Part of Jokowi's style was his populist 'can-do' (punya gaye) elements designed to build bonds with the broad electorate.[35] As mayor, he became personally involved in an incident just before Christmas 2011 when the Surakarta municipality had overdue bills of close to $1 million (Rp 8.9 billion) owed to the state-owned electricity company Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN). Following its policy of pursuing a more disciplined approach to collecting overdue bills, it imposed a blackout on street lights in the city just before Christmas. The city government quickly authorised payment but in settling the bill protested that the PLN should consider the public interest before taking such action. To reinforce the point, Jokowi made a highly publicised personal visit to the local PLN office to deliver the Rp 8.9 billion in cash in the form of hundreds of bundles of notes and even small coins.[39]

In 2010, he was re-elected for a second term, again running with Hadi. They won 90.09% of the vote, losing in only a single polling station.[40] He was later chosen as the 'Tempo Leader of Choice' by Tempo news magazine (2008) and received a 'Changemakers Award' from Republika newspaper (2010); his name also started being considered in national polls for the governorship of Jakarta, long before PDI-P's nomination, including those by University of Indonesia and Cyrus Network (2011).[35]

Governor of JakartaEdit

Jokowi's two versions of official portrait as Governor of Jakarta (2012)

Jokowi won the 2012 gubernatorial election in Jakarta after a runoff round against incumbent Fauzi Bowo.[4] His inner circle of advisers in Jakarta was reported to include people such as FX Hadi 'Rudy' Rudyatmo, Sumartono Hadinoto, and Anggit Nugroho who were colleagues while he was mayor of Surakarta as well as Basuki Tjahaja Purnama ("Ahok"), his deputy as governor of Jakarta.[41] Jokowi continued the blusukan practice he had adopted as mayor of Surakarta by regularly visiting population centres, especially slums. During these visits, he wore simple, informal clothes and stopped at markets or walked along narrow Jakarta alleys to listen and witness firsthand about issues addressed by residents such as the price of food, housing difficulties, flooding, and transportation. Polling and media coverage suggested that Jokowi's hands-on style proved very popular both in Jakarta and elsewhere across Indonesia.[42]

After taking office, taxes and the provincial budget of Jakarta increased significantly from Rp 41 trillion in 2012 to Rp 72 trillion in 2014.[43][44] Both Jokowi and Ahok publicised their monthly salary and the provincial budget.[45][46] They also initiated programs aimed towards transparency, such as online taxes, e-budgeting, e-purchasing, and a cash management system.[45] Moreover, all meetings and activities that were attended by Jokowi and Ahok were recorded and uploaded on YouTube.[47]

Jokowi on a blusukan neighborhood visit in Jakarta

In healthcare, Jokowi introduced a universal health care program, the 'Healthy Jakarta Card' (Kartu Jakarta Sehat, KJS).[48] It involved an insurance program provided through state-owned insurance company PT Askes Indonesia (Persero) and a plan to regulate health charges for treatment for over 20,000 services and procedures.[49] The program was criticised for confusion over details of the implementation and long queues,[50] though Jokowi defended it and counselled patience. In education, Jokowi launched the 'Smart Jakarta Card' (Kartu Jakarta Pintar, KJP) on 1 December 2012, to help needy students. It gives an allowance that can be withdrawn from ATMs for buying school needs such as books and uniforms.[51]

His administration's other notable policies include a system of bureaucratic recruitment called lelang jabatan (literally 'auction of office position'), giving every civil servant the same opportunity to achieve a certain position by fulfilling the required qualifications,[52] regulation of the chaotic agglomeration of street vendors in Pasar Minggu and Pasar Tanah Abang,[53][54] the dredging and reservoir normalisation projects to reduce flooding,[55][56][57] and the inauguration of long-delayed Jakarta MRT and Jakarta LRT.[58][59] As governor, Jokowi also appointed of a non-Muslim 'lurah' (subdistrict chief) for the Muslim majority subdistrict of Lenteng Agung in spite of protests by some residents.[60]

In handling squatters, Jokowi had been reported to Komnas HAM (Indonesian Human Rights Board) for human rights abuse after the eviction of the squatters near Pluit. In previous "political contracts", Jokowi had vowed not to evict residents to distant locations.[61][62]

Presidential candidaciesEdit


Megawati Sukarnoputri nominated Jokowi to be the presidential candidate of her party.[7]

Following the release of Quick Count results from many different polls, Jokowi declared victory on 9 July. However, his opponent Prabowo Subianto also declared victory, creating confusion among the population.[63] On 22 July, hours before the announcement of the election results, Prabowo withdrew.[64] Jokowi's victory was expected and realised hours later.[65][64] The General Elections Commission (KPU) gave him a close victory with 53.15% of the vote (almost 71 million votes), to Prabowo's 46.85% (62 million votes),[66] though Prabowo's camp disputed these totals.[67]

After his victory, Jokowi stated that growing up under the authoritarian and corrupt New Order regime, he would have never expected someone with a lower-class background to become president. The New York Times reported him as saying "now, it's quite similar to America, yeah? There is the American dream, and here we have the Indonesian dream".[68] Jokowi was the first Indonesian president outside the military or the political elite, and the political commentator Salim Said gave the popular view of the politician as "someone who is our neighbour, who decided to get into politics and run for president."[68]


In 2018, Jokowi announced that he would run for re-election next year. His vice president Jusuf Kalla was not eligible for another term because of the term limits set for president and vice president. Kalla had already served a five-year term as vice president during Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's first term (2004-2009). Speculation surrounding Jokowi's choice of running mate focused on several candidates including Mahfud MD, a former defence minister and chief justice of the Constitutional Court. In a surprise move, Jokowi announced that Ma'ruf Amin would be his running mate. Mahfud had reportedly been preparing for the vice-presidential candidacy. Ma'ruf was selected instead following a push by several constituent parties of Jokowi's governing coalition and influential Islamic figures.[69] Explaining his decision, Jokowi referred to Ma'ruf's extensive experience in government and religious affairs.[70]

The KPU officially announced that the Jokowi-Amin ticket had won the election in the early hours of 21 May 2019.[71] The official vote tally was 85 million votes for Jokowi (55.50%) and 68 million votes for Prabowo (44.50%).[72] Supporters of Prabowo protested in Jakarta against the result, and it turned into a riot which left eight people dead and over 600 injured.[73] Following the protests, Prabowo's campaign team launched a Constitutional Court lawsuit but was rejected in its entirety.[74]

Presidency of IndonesiaEdit

Jokowi recites the oath of office in 2014 (top) and 2019 (bottom)
Jokowi's official presidential portraits during his first term; released in 2014 (L) and 2016 (R)

Government and cabinetsEdit

Jokowi's initial cabinet lines-up in 2014 (up) and 2019 (down)

Despite vowing not to give government positions simply to political allies during the 2014 campaign, many members of political parties received ministerial positions in Jokowi's first cabinet.[75][76] The first year of Jokowi's administration saw him controlling a minority government, until Golkar, the second-largest party in the People's Representative Council (DPR), switched from opposition to the government. Jokowi denied accusations of having interfered with Golkar's internal affairs, although admitted that Luhut may have influenced the change.[77] His cabinet's Minister of Industry Airlangga Hartarto was elected chairman of Golkar in 2018.[78] The National Mandate Party (PAN) had also switched sides beforehand but later returned to being the opposition in 2018.[79][80]

Jokowi announced the 34 names in his cabinet on 26 October 2014.[81] While the cabinet was praised for inclusiveness of women, with Retno Marsudi becoming Indonesia's first female foreign minister, it received criticism for several perceived political inclusions such as Puan Maharani (daughter of Megawati Sukarnoputri).[82] The Jokowi administration also saw the formation of two new ministries (Ministry of Public Works and Housing and Ministry of Environment and Forestry) from a merger of old ministries, in addition to renaming and reorganisation of other ministries.[83] In total, he conducted three cabinet reshuffles until 2018, removing ministers such as Rizal Ramli and Bambang Brodjonegoro while including ministers such as Luhut and World Bank Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati.[84]

He came under fire from his own political party for other policy weakness and one lawmaker from his own party, Effendi Simbolon, said he should be impeached.[85] On 9 April 2015, during a PDI-P congress, his party's chair, former President Megawati Sukarnoputri, alluded to him as a functionary. Megawati noted the mechanism of a presidential election in which a political party nominates a candidate, as a hint that his position was owed to his PDI-P nomination and implying that it is natural for the president to carry out the party's political policy line.[86][87] Several months prior, Megawati and Jokowi had disputed over the appointment of a new police chief, with Megawati supporting her former adjutant Budi Gunawan while Jokowi supported Badrodin Haiti.[77][88][89]

Following his re-election, Jokowi announced his second cabinet on 23 October 2019. He retained several ministers such as Sri and Luhut, but also included the founder of Go-Jek Nadiem Makarim and two-time presidential rival Prabowo Subianto, as education and defence ministers respectively.[90]


Before taking office, Jokowi sought for outgoing President SBY to take responsibility for the decision to further increase fuel prices[91] by further removing subsidies.[92] Previous attempts by SBY to do so had resulted in civil unrest.[91] On 1 January 2015, Jokowi took measures which on the surface appeared to reduce fuel subsidies.[93][94] The policy stirred up some demonstrations, with Jokowi citing it as necessary to increase funding for the infrastructure, education and health sectors.[95] However, since March 2015, the government has set the price of Premium-branded gasoline far below the market price, causing the fuel subsidy to be incurred by state-owned oil company Pertamina instead of the direct government account.[96] Additionally, the government also implemented a single-price program, aiming to sell fuel through official channels at the same price nationally including in isolated parts of Kalimantan and Papua. The government claimed that this was achieved in 2017.[97]

In the first quarter of 2015, year-on-year GDP grew 4.92%, and in the second quarter, it grew 4.6%, the lowest figure since 2009.[98][99][100] Since then, growth has remained above the 5% mark, which is still below what is considered healthy economic growth mark of 6%.[101] The Indonesian rupiah has also weakened throughout Jokowi's administration, with its exchange rate per US dollar briefly passing Rp. 15,000 in 2018, the lowest level since the 1997 Asian financial crisis.[102] The year-on-year inflation in June 2015 was 7.26%, higher than in May (7.15%) and June the year before (6.7%).[103]

Jokowi's administration continued the resource nationalism policy of its predecessor, nationalising some assets controlled by multinational companies such as Freeport McMoRan, Total SA and Chevron. In 2018, in a move aimed to cut imports, oil companies operating in Indonesia were ordered to sell their crude oil to state-owned Pertamina.[104]

Infrastructure development has been a significant feature of the Jokowi administration, with a focus on the road and railway expansion, seaports and airports development, and irrigation. In 2016, the state budget allocated Rp 290 trillion (US$22 billion) for infrastructure, the biggest in Indonesian history.[105] In total, his administration planned 265 infrastructure projects starting in 2016.[106] In September 2015, Indonesia awarded a $5.5 billion high-speed rail project to China,[107][108] to Japan's disappointment, who is also vying for the project.[109] Indonesia's transportation ministry laid out a litany of shortcomings in plans for the project, casting doubt on the project and spotlighting Jokowi's limits in turning mega-projects into reality as he tries to draw foreign investors.[110] Other significant projects include the completion of the 4,325-kilometer Trans Papua road and the Trans-Java Toll Road,[111][112] initial construction of the Trans-Sulawesi Railway[113] and the Trans-Sumatra Toll Road,[114] a US$50 billion plan to develop the maritime sector including 24 "strategic ports",[115] and expansion of airport capacity in remote areas.[116] The ports' development and modernisation program, dubbed the "Sea Toll Road" program, was aimed to reduce price inequality between the better developed western parts of the country and the less populated eastern parts.[117]

In addition to the major projects, the Jokowi administration also implemented a village fund program in which villages across the country received funding to allocate on basic infrastructures such as roads and water supply, tourism development and village enterprises to improve rural economies.[118][119] The initial campaign promise was that Rp 1.4 billion (around US$100,000) would be allocated for every village annually,[120] though as of 2019 less than Rp 1 billion was allocated.[121] Between 2015 and 2018, Rp 187 trillion (US$14 billion) had been reallocated through the program.[122] The administration has targeted to streamline land certification across the country, aiming to distribute certificates of land ownership across the country completely. It involved increasing the issuing rate of certificates from around 500,000 to several million annually.[123][124] In 2016, the administration signed into law a tax amnesty bill following a lengthy public debate and push back, giving wealthy Indonesians a chance to declare their unreported assets before the government would strengthen rules and oversight around imports and exports. It became the most successful program of its kind in history, with over Rp. 4,865 trillion (approximately US$366 billion) of previously unreported assets declared to the tax office.[125][126]

The aggressive spending on infrastructure and the resulting increase in Indonesia's national debt - an increase of 48% between 2014 and March 2018 to US$181 billion - was criticised by the opposition.[127] In April 2018, Jokowi also issued new policy which allowed foreign workers in Indonesia without Indonesian language skills requirement,[128] reasoning that it would increase investments.[129] The policy faced significant opposition from local labor unions, who claimed that the policy would increase unemployment rates.[130][131]

In 2020, the DPR passed the Omnibus Law on Job Creation – a law intended to boost investment and reduce red tape, but is also perceived as weakening labor and environmental protections. A series of protests erupted in major cities against the law. Jokowi himself issued a statement defending the law, saying that it would be needed to create jobs, and called for protesters to instead lodge a challenge to the Constitutional Court of Indonesia.[132] The law, which revised over 70 previous laws and contained some 1,200 clauses, had been put forward by Jokowi following his 2019 reelection. Several groups had criticized the opaqueness of the government during the deliberation of the law.[133]


Early in his first term, the opposition coalition within the DPR attempted to revoke a regulation (Perppu, Government Regulation in Lieu of Acts) issued by Jokowi's predecessor, which had guaranteed the holding of direct regional elections in Indonesia (and overrode a legislator-issued bill which arranged for indirect elections).[134] Jokowi supported the direct regional elections and opposed attempts to revoke the regulation, stating that "direct regional elections was, in principle, non-negotiable".[135] Within the first three years of his administration, Jokowi issued four such Perppu.[136]

Human rightsEdit

Judicial executions in Indonesia are carried out under a Presidential Decree following a death sentence imposed by a trial court.[137] Jokowi has stated that he refused to grant any clemency for drug offenders facing execution and argued that Indonesia was in a state of emergency over drug-related crimes, citing statistics the Jakarta Globe reported to be faulty.[138][139] This stance drew criticism not only as it could harm relations with the native countries of the condemned convicts,[140] but also because it imperils Indonesia's own citizens facing the death penalty abroad.[141][142]

After multiple executions in 2015, Australia, Brazil and the Netherlands recalled their ambassadors from Indonesia.[13][143] Australia reduced its foreign aid to Indonesia by nearly half,[144] and Amnesty International issued a condemnation saying they showed a "complete disregard for due process and human rights safeguards."[145] Former Indonesian constitutional court chief justice Jimly Asshiddiqie, who was a key player in the anti-death penalty lobby in Jakarta, said the push for the execution of Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan had come from Jokowi personally.[146] Furthermore, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Jokowi did not have or read related documents when he refused their clemency requests.[147] In the same year, Jokowi granted Frenchman Serge Atlaoui and Filipino Mary Jane Veloso temporary reprieves due to pending legal appeals.[147] As of 2017, around 260 people remain on death row in Indonesia.[148]

In early 2016, his administration proposed a new anti-terrorism law to replace the previous one made in 2003. Following the Surabaya bombings of 2018, the worst terrorist attack on Indonesian soil since the 2002 Bali bombings, the controversial bill passed, allowing the Indonesian National Armed Forces to participate in counter-terrorism activities given presidential approval and police requests.[149] The law also allowed extended detention of terrorism suspects and permitted the use of wiretapping without initial court approval.[150] Jokowi himself threatened to issue a replacement law (Perppu) if the bill did not pass the parliament by June that year.[151] He also supported a controversial 2017 bill on mass organisations, which upon passing saw the Indonesian branch of the Hizb ut-Tahrir being disbanded. He stated that the law was a necessity to defend the national ideology Pancasila.[152]

Although a government-supported symposium to resolve human rights violations following the 1965 30 September Movement was held in 2016, Jokowi stated that his government would not apologise to the victims of the Indonesian mass killings of 1965–66.[153][154] On LGBT rights, Jokowi stated that "there should be no discrimination against anyone", but added that "in terms of our beliefs, [the LGBT lifestyle] isn't allowed, Islam does not allow it."[155]

Under his presidency, the controversial transmigration program was cut once more, when in 2015 the decision was made to end the migration program to the Papuan provinces of the east from Java.[156]

Many people were arrested for their posts on social media that were deemed insulting to Jokowi.[157][158] The arrests were considered by observers as a violation of freedom of speech, hence contradicting the constitution.[159][160] Moreover, the government's plans to resurrect a Dutch colonial law which would permit imprisonment for insulting the president resulted in widespread protests.[161][162] After the protests, a Law Firm and Public Interest Law Office (AMAR) institution reported receiving a lot of complaints of students regarding threats and sanctions of expulsion or suspension from their schools and universities.[163]

After publishing a controversial magazine cover with a caricature of Jokowi with Pinocchio long nose, the magazine Tempo was reported to the police by a group claiming to be Jokowi's supporters for insulting the president.[164][165] The Presidential Palace later issued a statement regarding the Tempo affair that "the President respected freedom of press and speech".[166] A remission granted to a journalist's murderer also became a source of controversy before its revocation following media pressure.[167][168] A book critical of Jokowi titled Jokowi Undercover was banned upon release. Its author was arrested and sentenced to three years in prison.[169] Buyers of the book were advised to surrender their copies to the authorities.[170]

In the aftermath of the 2019 election protests, Amnesty International's Indonesian office denounced the repressive actions against the demonstrators, and condemned them as a grave human rights abuse, also demanding the government to take responsibility to investigate the extrajudicial executions in the clash.[171]

Internet access in Indonesia was restricted several times between 2018 and 2019, such as during the post-election riots in May 2019 and the Papua protests in August 2019. Komnas HAM called the shutdown as a human rights abuse by the government.[172][173][174]

Foreign policyEdit

Joko Widodo and Russian President Vladimir Putin, 20 May 2016
Joko Widodo and Salman of Saudi Arabia, 1 March 2017

Before Jokowi's election, Indonesia's foreign policy under former President SBY was moulded by the mission statement, "A thousand friends and zero enemies".[175] Jokowi has mandated a three-pronged policy of maintaining Indonesia's sovereignty, enhancing the protection of Indonesian citizens, and intensifying economic diplomacy.[11]

Jokowi aspires Indonesia to become a global maritime power (Indonesian: poros maritim dunia or global maritime axis). He sees the sea would have an increasingly important role in Indonesia's future, and that as a maritime country, Indonesia must assert itself as a force between the two oceans: the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. The five pillars of this maritime-axis doctrine are rebuilding Indonesia's maritime culture, maintaining and managing marine resources, developing maritime infrastructure and connectivity as well as developing the shipping industry and maritime tourism, inviting other nations to cooperate in the marine field and eliminate the source of conflicts at sea, and developing maritime defence forces.[176] As part of this vision, Jokowi has adopted a tougher stance on illegal fishing.[177] He stated that Jakarta could no longer tolerate a situation in which over 5,000 ships are operating illegally in its waters every day, making a mockery out of Indonesian sovereignty and resulting in annual losses of over $20 billion.[178][179]

On the territorial disputes in the South China Sea, particularly in the Natuna Islands where China's nine-dash line intercepts Indonesian EEZ claims, Jokowi stated that "there will be no compromise on sovereignty",[180] and renamed Indonesia's section of the waters in the South China Sea as "North Natuna Sea".[181] In June 2016, he held a cabinet meeting off the islands aboard the Indonesian Navy corvette KRI Imam Bonjol, calling to step up maritime patrols in the area.[182] Under his administration, Indonesia has released an "Indo-Pacific Vision" for ASEAN countries, which calls for regional architecture and considers the Indian and Pacific Oceans as a single interconnected geostrategic area.[183] Indonesia also entered a trilateral cooperation agreement with Malaysia and the Philippines, allowing coordinated patrols in the pirate-infested Sulu Sea.[184]

In the Muslim world, Jokowi released a statement calling for the Muslim leaders at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation summit meeting in Jakarta to unite in reconciliation and push for Palestinian independence.[185] Under Jokowi, Indonesia's Foreign Minister has visited Palestine but refused entreaties to establish bilateral diplomatic relations with Israel.[186] An honorary consul was established in Ramallah in the West Bank though it had to be inaugurated in Amman, Jordan.[187] Jokowi also condemned the persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and oversaw the departure of four Indonesian Air Force transport planes with 34 tons of relief supplies for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.[188][189]

Capital relocationEdit

By April 2019, it was made public that Jokowi had decided in a meeting with cabinet ministers to move the capital of Indonesia away from Jakarta to a location outside Java.[190] On 25 August 2019, it was further announced that the new capital would be located in Kalimantan, between the regencies of North Penajam Paser and Kutai Kartanegara.[191]

Family and personal lifeEdit

Jokowi married his wife Iriana in 1986. The couple has two sons and one daughter. Their first son, Gibran Rakabuming Raka (born 1 October 1987), studied abroad in Sydney and Singapore (at the Management Development Institute of Singapore, MDIS) and currently runs a catering and wedding-planning business in Surakarta. Their only daughter, Kahiyang Ayu (born 20 April 1991), completed an undergraduate degree in food technology at the state-owned Sebelas Maret University in Surakarta. Their second son, Kaesang Pangarep (born 25 December 1994), completed his high school years in ACS International, Singapore,[192] and is an online vlogger. Jokowi has two grandchildren, born in 2016 and 2018 from Gibran and Kahiyang, respectively.

Jokowi has been described as "Muslim but broadly secular in his outlook",[193] and 2019, his statement that religion and politics should be separated caused a public debate on whether he was promoting secularism in the country.[194] In June 2013, a film titled Jokowi, depicting Jokowi's childhood and youth, was released.[195] He expressed some objections to the film saying that he felt his life had been a simple one and was not worthy of being adapted into a film.[196]

Several members of Jokowi's family has declared their intentions to enter politics by running as a candidate to local government (mayors and regents). His first son Gibran has declared his candidacy for the mayoralship of Surakarta, in addition to his son-in-law Bobby Nasution (Medan) and brother-in-law Wahyu Purwanto (Gunung Kidul Regency).[197]

Interest in rock musicEdit

According to The Economist, Jokowi "has a penchant for loud rock music" and owned a bass guitar signed by Robert Trujillo of heavy metal band Metallica, that was confiscated by the anti-corruption commission, KPK.[198] He is also a fan of Lamb of God, Led Zeppelin and Napalm Death. On 2 November 2013, while he was the Governor of Jakarta, he was seen in the rock festival Rock in Solo in casual dress.[199] In November 2017, Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, who was on an official visit to Jakarta, gave Jokowi a Metallica Master of Puppets vinyl box set as a diplomatic gift. It was signed by the band's drummer and co-founder, Lars Ulrich, a Danish native.[200] In accordance with his policy of transparency, Jokowi paid 11 million rupiah ($800) out of his personal funds to claim the record, which had been declared a state asset to avoid accusations of corruption.[201]

Awards and honoursEdit

Coat of arms as member of the Order of the Seraphim.
National honours
Foreign honours

2008: Listed by Tempo as one of the 'Top 10 Indonesian Mayors of 2008'.[211]

2012: Ranked 3rd at the 2012 World Mayor Prize for "transforming a crime-ridden city into a regional centre for art and culture and an attractive city to tourists".[212]

2013: Listed as one of "The Leading Global Thinkers of 2013" in Foreign Policy magazine. In February 2013 he was nominated as the global mayor of the month by the City Mayors Foundation, based in London.[213]

2014: Listed by Fortune as one of "The World's 50 Greatest Leaders".[214]

2016–2017: List by "The Muslim 500" as one of the most influential Muslims in the world, which ranked 11 in 2016 and 13 in 2017.[215][216]


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Further readingEdit

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Political offices
Preceded by
Slamet Suryanto
Mayor of Surakarta
Succeeded by
F. X. Hadi Rudyatmo
Preceded by
Fauzi Bowo
Governor of Jakarta
Succeeded by
Basuki Tjahaja Purnama
Preceded by
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
President of Indonesia