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    Jul 11, 2014

    Indonesian markets surge on Jokowi 'win'


    INDONESIAN financial markets surged yesterday in the belief that Jakarta Governor Joko "Jokowi" Widodo had won Wednesday's presidential election.

    Investors have been hoping for victory for the governor, the first serious presidential contender without deep roots in the Suharto era, seeing him as a potential reformer and clean leader in a graft-ridden country, AFP reported.

    His opponent, former special forces general Prabowo Subianto, is seen as a last gasp of the old guard and his nationalist rhetoric and suggestions of a greater state role in the economy have worried many investors.

    Jakarta stocks rose to a one-year high on expectations, and the rupiah also strengthened against the dollar.

    The Jakarta Composite Index climbed 1.5 per cent to close at 5,098.01, the highest since May last year, as property and construction companies led the advance. The gauge rose as much as 2.8 per cent earlier.

    The rupiah gained 0.4 per cent to 11,580 per dollar, according to prices from local banks, after touching the strongest level since May 22, Bloomberg reported.

    But companies linked to Mr Prabowo's campaign team fell on the Jakarta stock market yesterday, reported Reuters.

    Visi Media Asia, which belongs to tycoon supporter Aburizal Bakrie, slid 4.85 per cent, while Media Nusantara Citra, belonging to wealthy backer Hari Tanoesoedibjo, lost 3.66 per cent.

    Mr Prabowo has criticised his rival for declaring victory based on quick counts of actual votes by private groups and which have proved accurate in past elections. He countered with his own victory declaration based on other, unnamed, quick counts.

    President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono urged the two candidates to keep their supporters in check during what will be an agonising two-week wait for an official result.

    Police were on alert yesterday across the sprawling archipelago, the world's fourth-most populous nation, after both candidates claimed victory in the tightest election race in the country's history.

    The Election Commission is due to announce the official result on July 22.

    Dr Yudhoyono met Mr Joko and Mr Prabowo separately at his home outside Jakarta late on Wednesday night, telling both to ensure their supporters kept the peace.

    "(The President) asks both candidates' sides to show restraint, not to mobilise masses onto the streets to celebrate victory until the verdict of the Election Commission," Dr Yudhoyono tweeted late on Wednesday.

    There were no reports of any major violence across the vast archipelago. About 250,000 police officers were on standby, the authorities said.

    Indonesia, South-east Asia's biggest economy, was swept by violence in which hundreds of people were killed when strongman ruler Suharto was ousted in 1998 after over three decades in power. It has since made a transition to full democracy, with this only its third direct presidential election.