Wahid has strong reformist credentials. He has a track record of racial and religious tolerance, committed to a secular and inclusive Indonesia, which will serve him well as the cornerstone of his efforts to kick-start Indonesia's decimated economy, begin the process of national reconciliation and implement the various policies he had advocated, as granting greater economic autonomy to Indonesia's provinces, weeding out corruption and setting up an independent judicial system.
Many consider him to be the nation's moral conscience. He leads the country's largest Moslem organisation, the 35 million-strong Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), but is thoroughly secular in outlook, always preaching respect for other religions and urging protection for Indonesia's economically important Chinese minority.
Wahid believed that "Islam should be used only as a moral force to foster democracy, not as an overtly political tool". He has always insisted that faith is a personal matter and been against institutionalizing Islam within the state,and has worked to promote cooperation among religious faiths.
It is most noteworthy that barely three days after being sworn as the fourth Indonesian President, Wahid attended a prayer service at a Hindu ashram in Bali.
After an ecumenical ceremony (including Hindu, Muslim, Protestant, Catholic and Buddhist prayers), Wahid stressed the need for religious tolerance and criticized the Ministry of Religious Affairs for having become the ministry of only one religion.