The Solo mayor turned governor of Jakarta, Joko Widodo, has been named the third best mayor in the world by an international think tank, which focuses on local government.
The 2012 World Mayor Project, which announced the rankings on its website on Tuesday, stated that Joko had successfully “turned a crime-ridden city into a regional centre for arts and culture, which has started to attract international tourism.”
The City Mayors Foundation, the organizer of the project, also acknowledged Joko’s effort to campaign against corruption, which earned him the reputation of being the most honest politician in Indonesia.
“There is a long list of positive testimonials and genuine and very enthusiastic praise for the mayor, most particularly for his honesty and refusal to be corrupted — apparently an exception in Indonesia. He is a simple and humble guy who pays lots of attention to less fortunate people,” the organizer stated on the website.
The committee also made an exception to their own rule that a mayor must be in office on the closing date of the popular vote to be included in the top 10.
“An exception was made for Joko Widodo because of the exceptional high number of votes he received during the first and second round of the contest,” the organizer said.
Joko said he did not work to win an award but said he was grateful to be selected.
“I work because I have been assigned by the people, [I] never think that there will be appreciation,” he said as quoted by beritajakarta.com.
“It’s the business of the one that issued the award. I never work because of award. [But] if I’m given the award, I should say thanks.”
Inaki Azkuna, the mayor of Bilbao, Spain, took out the top spot for transforming a declining industrial city in Spain’s northern Basque province to an international center for tourism and the arts.
Lisa Scaffidi, the mayor of Perth, Australia, was ranked No. 2 on the list. She was praised for her efforts to make Perth more attractive, cosmopolitan and livable.
The City Mayors Foundation issues the prize every two years, selecting the best mayors by emphasizing the strength of argument in testimonials rather than the number of votes.