Joko Widodo also known as Jokowi, is an Indonesian politician who is the seventh and current President of Indonesia. Elected in July 2014 as the first Indonesian president to not 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.
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 its candidate for the 2012 Jakarta gubernatorial election, alongside Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (often known as Ahok) as his running mate. Defeating incumbent Fauzi Bowo, he took office in October 2012 and reinvigorated Jakarta politics, with publicized blusukan visits (unannounced spot checks) and improving the city’s bureaucracy, reducing corruption in the process. He also introduced years-late programs to improve quality of life in the city, including universal health-care, dredging the city’s main river to reduce flooding, and inaugurating construction of the city’s subway system.
Seen as a rising star in Indonesian politics, PDI-P nominated Jokowi for the 2014 presidential election. Winning a majority of the popular vote, he was named president-elect on 22 July 2014, to bitter protest from his rival Prabowo Subianto, who disputed the outcome and withdrew from the race before the count was completed.
As president, Jokowi has primarily focused on infrastructure, introducing or restarting long-delayed programs to build highways, high-speed rail, airports and other facilities to improve connectivity in the Indonesian archipelago. After a lengthy public debate and pushback, Jokowi signed into law the Indonesian tax amnesty bill, 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 $366 billion USD) of previously unreported assets declared to the tax office. On foreign policy, his administration has placed an emphasis on “protecting Indonesia’s sovereignty”, with the sinking of illegal foreign fishing vessels and the prescription of capital punishment for drug smugglers, despite intense pressure from foreign powers including Australia and France. After four years in office, Jokowi’s approval ratings remain high, in the high-60s to low-70s. He will seek re-election in 2019.