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ICC Note:

The 53-year-old carpenter’s son took the oath of office at a ceremony held at parliament in Jakarta and is now the 7th President of Indonesia. He is the first president in the history of Indonesia not to have come from the military or political elite. He made a call for national reconciliation and unity. Facing the increasing radicalism and religious intolerance in Indonesia, is the new president able to improve the situation? ICC interviewed Christians in Indonesia and almost all of them have expressed hope and optimism about the future of the country. Please pray for the unity and religious tolerance in Indonesia, as well as the spread of the Gospel in this land.

10/20/2014 Indonesia (AsiaNews) – Restoring Indonesia’s key role in maritime trade and the nations’ commitment to fostering peace on an international level, with a position of “neutrality” with respect to major conflicts in the region, strengthening the principles of “unity” and collaboration “working side by side”: these are all “essential” elements on the road to making the nation a “great country.” These are the principles outlined today by the new president of Indonesia Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, who officially began his mandate (along with the vice-president Jusuf Kalla) in front of hundreds of parliamentarians and 18 high-profile representatives of foreign nations.

Known by the nickname “Jokowi,” the 53 year old head of state was sworn in at a ceremony held this morning in Jakarta, where he was governor before competing in the last election. He is the seventh president in the history of Indonesia, the most populous Muslim nation in the world, and the first not to have ties with the leaders of national politics and the army.

At least 24 thousand members of the security forces, including police and soldiers patrolled the streets of a capital celebrating the inauguration of the mandate. Jokowi, the son of a carpenter came to power thanks to his image as a “man of the people”, he promised to devote much attention to health and education. However, he will face stiff opposition in Parliament, where two-thirds of the seats are the prerogative of the coalition that supported Prabowo Subianto in the last presidential election.

The ceremony was also attended by outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his deputy Boediono, as well as the challenger Prabowo Subianto, indicating a newfound unity – at least on this occasion – in the country and national politics. In his speech Jokowi recalled that Indonesia is an archipelago, and for this reason must focus on intra-island maritime transport which, to date, is still low. He also wanted to thank his predecessor Yudhoyono for being able to keep the peace in the 10 years in office.

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