Jakarta (ANTARA News) – Indonesia officially declared Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and M. Jusuf Kalla as its new president and vice president, respectively on Monday.
The declaration was made following their swearing in as the countrys new leaders for the 2015-2019 term in a plenary meeting of the Peoples Consultative Assembly (MPR) broadcast live by various national television stations.
“Jokowi and Jusuf Kalla are now officially the president and vice president of the Republic of Indonesia,” MPR Chairman Zulkifli Hasan stated after they took oath.
The ceremony went smoothly and was attended by 672 of the 792 total MPR members comprising members of the House of Representatives (DPR) and the Regional Representatives Council (DPD).
The ceremony was also attended by several foreign heads of state and government and representatives such as Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah from Brunei Darussalam, Prime Minister Najib Razak from Malaysia, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Timor Leste President Taur Matan Ruak, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter ONeill, and the United States Foreign Minister John Kerry.
“You now, no longer belong to certain groups but to the people of Indonesia,” Zulkifli Hasan stated while referring to the new president and vice president.
“I hope the president and vice president would be successful in running their government, so that the Indonesian nation would enjoy more prosperity and respect,” he noted in his speech after the swearing-in and post transfer ceremony.
Jokowi, who is a former furniture exporter, Solo city mayor, and Jakarta governor, won the presidential election on July 9, pairing with former vice president Jusuf Kalla.
He defeated his arch rival Prabowo Subianto, a former military figure, who paired with former economic minister Hatta Rajasa in the election.
His victory, however, was only declared officially after a court confirmed the result of the election in his favor following a protest raised by the Prabowo Subianto camp, which led to a heated political situation in the country.
The situation continued to escalate during the election of the leadership of MPR and DPR later, which was finally won by the Red-White coalition of political parties supporting the Prabowo-Hatta pair, thereby leaving no position for the Great Indonesia coalition led by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP).
In view of that, rumors then went afloat regarding a likely boycott and sabotage of Jokowis inauguration ceremony.
Just days before the inauguration, however, the political situation drastically changed for the better after Prabowo Subianto and Jokowi met in a congenial atmosphere, thereby thawing out any deadlock in political communications. Both Joko Widodo and Prabowo were praised for initiating the meeting.
“The meeting between the two was able to cool down the political atmosphere that has remained tense after the presidential election on July 9,” Prof. Siti Zuhro, a political observer and senior researcher of the Indonesia Institute of Sciences (LIPI), stated in Semarang, Central Java, on Saturday.
It has also provided relief to the community, mass organizations, media, non-governmental organizations, and professionals, she revealed.
She said the meeting deserved appreciation and hoped that it could serve as a positive example for politicians who would compete in regional head or presidential elections in the future.
In the meantime, former presidential candidate debate moderator Himahanto Yuwono considered the meeting to be an extraordinary step, which will help to veer Indonesias political life towards a more favorable environment.
“As the moderator of the third round of the presidential candidate debate, I am touched, proud, and happy with the meeting,” Hikmahanto noted here on Saturday.
Hikmahanto was of the viewpoint that the two leaders are great statesmen who were able to put aside their respective egos for the best interests of the Unitary State of Indonesia and for the benefit of the people.
Prabowo Subianto, as earlier promised during a meeting with Jokowi to honor the invitation to the ceremony, did attend the inauguration on Monday along with his former running mate, Hatta Rajasa.
In his inauguration speech, President Jokowi specially lauded Prabowo Subianto, referring to him as his best friend and colleague.
“My respect to my best friend and colleague Prabowo Subianto,” Jokowi remarked while greeting state guests at the ceremony. On hearing his name being mentioned, Prabowo immediately rose to give a salute.
Jokowi, in his ten-minute speech, called on all parties and community elements to work together and cooperate to develop the country.
“It is time now for us to unite our spirit and work hand in hand to continue carrying out the historical task of the country, which is huge,” he noted.
Jokowi and Jusuf Kalla replaced Susilo Bambang Yudhoyogno and Boediono, who have led the country for the past ten years.
Scores of people greeted the new president and vice president by waving hands, banners, and flags and offering handshakes following their arrival at the Hotel Indonesia roundabout from the MPR building.
The people paraded the populist president, in the company of vice president Jusuf Kalla, in a special open carriage to the Merdeka Presidential Palace. Along the way, the new president and vice president waved out to greet the crowds in an event, which was witnessed for the first time in the countrys history.
Former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and first lady Ani Yudhoyono welcomed the new president and first lady Iriani Widodo following their arrival at the palace before they finally left to make way for the new president to move into the palace to govern the country.