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Indonesia's July elections may welcome president on good terms with ROC

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The favorite for Indonesia's next president Joko Widodo is reported to have a relationship with Taiwan that dates back many years.

Joko Widodo, popularly dubbed Jokowi by his voters, is a political favorite among Indonesians and has risen to fame after securing the position as the current governor of Jakarta. Widodo represents the “Indonesia Democratic Party — Struggle,” and has garnered favor from 40 percent of voters in recent surveys regarding the presidential elections.

The 52-year-old met with Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd. Chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘) earlier this week, voicing his support for Gou to build a factory in Jakarta. The Jakarta government is willing to supply land in Malunda, northern Jakarta, for Hon Hai free of charge, said Widodo.

According to Andrew Hsia (夏立言), former R.O.C. envoy to Indonesia, Widodo shared the background of his friendly ties with Taiwan during Hsia's last visit. “I ran a solid wood furniture company before I became a governor. If my friends can't find me on weekends or holidays, I must be in Taiwan on business. I am familiar with Taiwan,” Hsia quoted Widodo as saying.

Widodo is predicted to be elected as Indonesia's next president by The Economist, despite the people's favorite having not previously indicated a wish to run for the position. The Economist reports that Widodo is favored by the younger generation of Indonesians because of his less formal style and “fresh approach.”

Indonesia's presidential elections will be held in July, 2014.

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