Indonesia’s Jokowi sworn in for 2nd term amid heightened security

Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo was sworn in on Sunday for a second five-year term at a heavily guarded ceremony in the capital Jakarta—days after Islamist militants tried to assassinate his top security minister.

Foreign heads of state, lawmakers, and political rivals witnessed the inauguration as Jokowi, 58, and Ma’ruf Amin, 76, took their oath as president and vice president, respectively.

The ceremony marked the start of Jokowi’s second and final term leading the world’s largest Muslim-majority country.

The Indonesian government deployed some 31,000 security personnel in Jakarta amid fears of another attack.

Demonstrations were also outlawed on Sunday as extremist violence continues to flare in Indonesia.

“I was worried Islamic (hardliners) would take over the country if he lost,” Jokowi supporter Suprihatini, who goes by one name, told AFP.

“I’m Muslim, but I don’t want that kind of movement here,” the 53-year-old added.

In his inauguration speech, Jokowi pledged economic and bureaucratic reforms to realize his dream of Indonesia becoming one of the world’s top five economies by 2045, with a GDP worth $7 trillion.

He underscored that the results were more important than the process, using the messaging service WhatsApp as an analogy.

“When we send a message through SMS [short message service] or [WhatsApp], we can see when they are sent and when they are delivered. Our job is to guarantee [that the programs] are delivered, not just sent,” he said.

“I don’t want bureaucracy that keeps sending things. I want, and I will enforce a bureaucracy that makes deliveries.”

Jokowi further warned that he could sack underperforming civil servants.

In contrast to his resounding re-election victory in April, Sunday’s inauguration comes as a wave of crises has sorely tested Jokowi’s leadership.

Challenges facing the president include nationwide anti-government demonstrations, unrest in Papua province, a slowdown in the Indonesian economy—the largest in Southeast Asia, and the transboundary haze dispute with its neighbors.

“This is the weakest point in Jokowi’s political leadership,” said Arya Fernandes, a researcher at the Jakarta-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies.

“It’s a test for the president in critical times.”

Jokowi’s inauguration comes a little over a week after the nation’s chief security minister was stabbed in an attack by two members of a local extremist group allied to the Islamic State organization.

Two suspects were arrested at the scene, while the police have detained dozens of suspected militants in a country-wide search following the assassination attempt on Wiranto, a former general who goes by one name.

The 72-year-old is recovering in hospital.


President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo gives his inaugural address after taking the oath as Indonesian President for the period of 2019 to 2024. Picture credit: Dhoni Setiawan from The Jakarta Post