Soon after he became governor of Indonesia's traffic-clogged capital in 2012, Joko Widodo came up with a creative approach to an impasse blocking completion of a ring-road around Jakarta for almost a decade.
Some 140 stubborn residents had refused to sell their land to allow construction of the last 1.5-kilometer stretch of road. Instead of taking them to court, Widodo took them for a meal. He prayed with them at a local mosque. After four visits, they all agreed to sell. Jakarta no longer has a frustrating gap in its ring-road.
When Widodo becomes president on Oct. 20, he obviously cannot use similar ways to solve the many problems faced by Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago of around 13,500 islands.
In addition to time, the new president will lack elements critical for making major changes. He doesn't have a majority in the new parliament, whose speaker and deputies aren't from his party.
Indonesia's current big budget deficit doesn't let Widodo pump-prime Southeast Asia's largest economy, which in the second quarter grew at the slowest pace in nearly five years.
Given this weak starting-point, analysts expect the new president to push for some badly needed "supply-side" improvements such as bureaucratic and governance reforms plus efforts to resolve land issues obstructing development.