Joko and Prabowo meet as friends – Asean +

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JAKARTA: The president of Indonesia and his defeated electoral rival met for the first time after the April poll and led together on a recently opened subway in the capital, signaling a calming of political tensions in the third largest democracy of the world.

In a choreographic show, president Joko Widodo and the former general of the Prabowo Subianto special forces met and hugged each other yesterday at a sparkling new metro station in Jakarta and sat together chatting for a short train journey.

Prabowo had refused to accept the election result and threatened a "popular power" revolt.

He denounced a massive and systematic fraud, but his legal challenge was rejected by the superior court of the country last month, reflecting his weak evidence.

Nine people died in revolt in Jakarta in May, after official results were released, showing that Joko had obtained 55.5% of the votes.

Joko, the first Indonesian president outside the Jakarta elite, said that the Indonesians should unite after the harsh electoral campaign.

"Global competition and competition between countries are becoming more difficult, so we need to be together to advance this nation, to build this country we love," he said.

"Thank God we can meet this morning and try the MRT (subway), because I know that Prabowo has never tried the MRT," Joko said.

Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim majority nation, is an outpost of democracy in a neighborhood of authoritarian governments in Southeast Asia and is expected to be among the world's largest economies by 2030.

Joko's second term could further cement the country's two decades of democratization and see progress in its signing policy to improve the inadequate infrastructure of the sprawling nation.

Prabowo, which has allied itself with groups that want to prevail in Indonesia rather than secularism, has won great victories in the conservative provinces, but Joko has prevailed at the national level with the support of the main Muslim organizations and minority voters.

Joko also defeated Prabowo in 2014.

Prabowo congratulated Joko for his electoral victory and said he would work with the government also offering criticism "because democracy requires checks and balances". – AP

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