US hails Indonesia democracy in turbulent SE Asia

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Associated Press

Posted on July 24, 2014 at 6:01 AM

Updated Thursday, Jul 24 at 6:01 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is congratulating Indonesia's presidential election victor Joko Widodo (JOH-koh WI-doh-doh), even as the losing candidate rejected the result.

That underscores Washington's intent to deepen ties with Indonesia and support democracy in Southeast Asia.

A peaceful transfer of power in Indonesia would buck a worrying trend in a region marred by flawed elections and military meddling. It would also serve to show that democracy thrives in the country with the world's largest Muslim population.

Over the past year, there have been disputed elections in Malaysia and Cambodia. Thailand, once an example of democratic progress, is facing its most repressive period of military rule in decades.

Political change has been comparatively smooth in Indonesia since the end of the 30-year rule of former dictator Suharto in 1998.

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