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Guessing game over: Jakarta governor to run for president

Joko Widodo runs Indonesia's capital, Jakarta, and has long kept admirers wondering if he'd stand in July. His appeal to ordinary voters may have swayed the political gatekeepers.

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Jakarta's Governor Joko Widodo, also known as Jokowi, is greeted by residents during his visit to inspect the aftermath of a slum fire area in west Jakarta, Indonesia, April 9, 2013.

Enny Nuraheni/Reuters/File

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The political party of former Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri nominated the capital's popular governor as its presidential candidate on Friday, a move aimed at bolstering the party's prospects in upcoming legislative elections.

Since being elected governor of Jakarta in 2012, Joko Widodo, known as "Jokowi," has topped polls as the most electable candidate to replace President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who cannot run for re-election because he is already in his second term.

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Widodo's growing popularity is driven by moves aimed at shoring up support among the poor and a clean track record. By naming him Friday as a candidate for the July 9 presidential election, Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle chairwoman Megawati will likely secure a significant number of votes for the party in next month's legislative polls.

"I'm ready to carry out the mandate," Widodo told cheering supporters at a low-cost apartment complex in Jakarta.

Indonesia, home to more than 240 million people, is the world's third-largest democracy after India and the United States.


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