Joko Widodo's supporters have been waiting a long time to celebrate his victory as the democratically elected president of Indonesia.
On election day in July, Jokowi (as he is more commonly known) asked his supporters to hold off on celebrating until the results were officially confirmed. Weeks later when the results were confirmed, he again asked his supporters to be patient in the face of a challenge by his opponent, Prabowo Subianto. And even when the verdict confirmed Jokowi's victory in August, it was Prabowo's supporters who rallied outside the Constitutional Court while Jokowi's backers stayed at home and waited.
It is likely partly out of security fears that Jokowi has discouraged his supporters from holding public celebrations until now. But today, Jokowi's supporters have finally been invited to take to the streets to celebrate his victory, as he is sworn in as the seventh president of the Republic of Indonesia. Celebrations are expected to take over the capital, Jakarta, where Jokowi stepped down from the role of governor just last Thursday.
A 'people's parade' is planned for the city's main street, where Jokowi and his vice president, Jusuf Kalla, will ride a horse-drawn carriage to the National Monument before taking the stage alongside the country's most popular rock band. The public celebrations will be fueled by free food handed out by an association of street-food sellers who will provide, among other things, steaming bowls of US President Barack Obama's favourite meatball soup, bakso.
Even the prospect of free bakso hasn't convinced Obama to make the trip, though. He will be represented by US Secretary of State John Kerry, who will attend the inauguration alongside prime ministers Tony Abbott, Lee Hsien Loong from Singapore and Najib Razak from Malaysia.
Jokowi has also received the blessing of TIME magazine and Facebook ahead of his inuaguration.
His face appeared on the cover of the latest edition of TIME, with the headline 'A New Hope'. Last week he received a visit from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who is on tour to promote an initiative that aims to boost Internet access worldwide. Jokowi caused a media frenzy in the capital by taking Zuckerberg on one of his signature impromptu public visits, to the crowded Tanah Abang market in central Jakarta. Some people in the market reportedly did not recognise Jokowi's American guest.
Not everyone in Jakarta is impressed by Jokowi's foreign supporters, or his planned celebrations in the capital. Smear campaigns against Jokowi during the presidential election accused him of being a foreign 'puppet', and of deceiving Jakartans by not finishing his term as governor before running for president. At the time, posters appeared in the capital urging voters to choose Prabowo for president as a way to keep Jokowi as their governor. This campaign received support in particular from organisations of Jakarta's indigenous Betawi people. In recent weeks, the hard-line Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) has protested Jokowi's resignation because it leaves Jakarta in the hands of his deputy, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, an ethnic Chinese Christian.
Jokowi has built an image as a man of the people. But it is also worth remembering that 47% of Indonesians did not vote for him and Kalla, instead choosing Prabowo and his running mate Hatta Rajasa. Prabowo's side has sown confusion and instability since voting day by refusing to accept the outcome of the election, lodging a challenge against the official results, and supporting its version of events with biased coverage via its media partners. Jokowi's side has its own biased media support, further confusing matters.
Banners have been displayed in Jakarta in the past week reminding the public that it is Jokowi and Kalla who will take over from Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Boediono as president and vice president today. About 25,000 police and military personnel will be deployed to secure the inauguration and its public celebrations.
In an encouraging development for security at today's events, Jokowi on Friday met face-to-face with Prabowo for the first time since election day in July. Since the meeting, Prabowo has asked legislators from his party to attend the inauguration and 'be nice', adding that he himself would also attend, pending the completion of some unspecified important business.
Judging from the Prabowo's coalition's support for the recent passing of a bill that scraps direct regional elections (the route by which Jokowi rose to the presidency), the incoming president will face plenty of challenges his new role. But for today, at least, it seems Jokowi's opponents will let him have his big day.