Indonesian presidential candidate Joko Widodo, right, smiles as he speaks to the media during his visit at a reservoir development project in Jakarta, Indonesia, Tuesday, July 22, 2014. (Photograph credit: Dita Alangkara/AP)
The 53-year-old Joko Widodo, who captured the hearts of millions of Indonesians with his common man image, won the country’s presidential election with 53 percent of the vote, final results showed Tuesday. Widodo, a former furniture exporter known to most as “Jokowi,” is the first candidate in a direct presidential election in Indonesia with no ties to the former dictator Suharto, who ruled the country for 30 years before being overthrown in 1998. Widodo, who was elected governor of Jakarta in 2012, is widely viewed as untainted by the often corrupt military and business elite that have run Indonesia for decades, the AP said, adding that despite his lack of experience in national politics, he built a reputation as being a man of the people and an efficient leader who wants to advance democratic reforms in his country. Indonesia, an archipelago of about 17,000 islands and 240 million people, has the world’s fourth-largest population and is the most populous Muslim country.