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Welcoming #PresidenJokowi

Welcoming #PresidenJokowi
Published 21 Oct 2014 

The hashtag  #presidenjokowi was a worldwide trending topic on social media yesterday as Indonesia welcomed its new president, Joko Widodo, who is better known as Jokowi. Driving this trend were the enthusiastic netizens of Jakarta, one of the world's most active Twitter cities. Crowds filled the main street, Jalan Sudirman, hoping to catch a glimpse of the newly inaugurated president or, even better, a selfie with his motorcade.

Jokowi was sworn in as Indonesia's seventh president at the House of Representatives before midday. After making an inaugural speech that pushed the limits of maritime metaphors, President Jokowi and his Vice President Jusuf Kalla set sail through a sea of supporters crowding Jalan Sudirman, the Presidential Palace and the grounds of the National Monument, where a public concert was scheduled for the evening. The event was billed as a 'people's parade', with catering provided by an association of street food vendors handing out free snacks.

With sizable crowds joining celebrations in the midday heat, it would appear that many Jakartans have forgiven Jokowi for cutting short his term as governor of the city to run for president. Attendees ranged from office workers to bus drivers and street cleaners, as well as volunteers for Jokowi's presidential campaign who had waited more than three months to publicly celebrate the victory. The motorcade travelled past kilometers of construction work, where the city's long-awaited mass transportation system is moving ahead under the new governor, Jokowi's former deputy Basuki Tjahaja Purnama.

The peaceful celebrations are a sign of acceptance by supporters of losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto, and, hopefully, a sign of a peaceful and constructive term ahead for Jokowi as president. However, with only a minority in the House of Representatives against Prabowo's bulky coalition, Jokowi will have to do more than win the hearts of the people to succeed in making significant changes as president.

Below are some shots from the people's parade and celebrations at the National Monument on Monday. [fold]