Joko Widodo, commonly known as Jokowi, was elected president of Indonesia, one of Asia’s leading economies – and the country with the largest Muslim population in the world – in October 2014. He rose to power promising to be “the people’s president” and with an initial approval rating of 70 percent, expectations were high.
His dreams of further improving the country’s economy – especially for the poor – and to fight corruption and bureaucracy, however, were very ambitious. He promised to transform Indonesia’s infrastructure to interconnect its most remote regions, a project at an estimated cost of over $1tn.
But only in 2015, Indonesia’s economy, South Asia’s largest, was growing at its lowest rate in six years.
Meanwhile, the president’s tough approach on drugs – including his push to execute drug traffickers – have created diplomatic tensions since many of the accused have been foreign nationals.
Additionally, disputes with China over territories in the South China Sea and the growing tension brought about by North Korea’s threats, are putting the region under a lot of pressure. And politically things aren’t looking very good.
One of Widodo’s main political allies and closest friends, Jakarta’s Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama “Ahok”, lost the April election that would’ve kept him in office another term. The Christian governor’s popularity tumbled after his political enemies accused him of blasphemy against Islamic beliefs.
So, is Widodo’s Indonesia at the crossroads between a multi-religious state and a nation ruled by Islamic principles?
As president Widodo is close to completing three years in office, we discuss his record and the problems he is facing domestically and internationally. Joko Widodo, President of Indonesia, talks to Al Jazeera.
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