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Indonesia Holds Presidential Election

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    Ex-general leads in Indonesia election ... JAKARTA, July 5: Retired general Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono took the lead on Monday in Indonesia s first direct
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 6, 2004
      Ex-general leads in Indonesia election
      JAKARTA, July 5: Retired general Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono took the
      lead on Monday in Indonesia's first direct presidential election that
      strengthened democracy in the world's most populous Muslim country
      after decades of authoritarian rule.

      Bambang Yudhoyono was projected to win 34 per cent of the votes-not
      enough to avoid a second round run-off election on Sept 20, an
      independent count of votes showed. A representative sample of votes
      by the US-based National Democratic Institute and a local research
      organization showed President Megawati Sukarnoputri won 25 per cent,
      while another retired general, Wiranto, took 24 per cent.

      That margin was too small to say for certain who Mr Yudhoyono would
      face in the run-off, said the group, whose projections have been
      highly accurate in the past. From primitive tribesmen in far eastern
      Papua province and Hindu farmers in Bali to trendy Jakarta office
      workers and beleaguered residents of strife-torn Aceh in the west,
      Indonesians turned out in force for the landmark election.

      Unofficial reports put turnout at more than 80 percent, with voters
      expressing delight about directly electing their president six years
      after the fall of long-time autocrat Suharto.

      Opinion polls ahead of election day had shown Mr Yudhoyono, who
      resigned as Ms Megawati's security minister in March and is backed by
      a small, new party, with a commanding 20 to 30 per cent lead over his
      four rivals.

      But Wiranto, the candidate of the largest party in parliament, and
      Megawati had formidable campaign machines that turned out their
      voters. A number of ballots were incorrectly punched due to confusion
      over the folded ballot paper, said Gunawan Hidayat, national
      coordinator for the People Voter Education Network, which deployed
      100,000 monitors.

      The election commission ordered them counted as valid and Chairman
      Nazaruddin Sjamsuddin saw few irregularities. -Reuters




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