ASIA/INDONESIA - On the horizon a second round of voting for Indonesia’s president

Tuesday, 6 July 2004

Jakarta (Fides Service) - There will probably be a second round of elections for presidency in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country with 230 million people 87% Muslim. About 80% of the more than 150 million eligible voters expressed their preference among 5 candidates on the list. In the vast archipelago of Indonesia comprising 17,000 islands spread over thousands of miles of the Pacific and Indian Ocean, polling stations opened and closed without incidents on the islands of Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Moluccas and Indonesian Papua. Observers contacted by Fides say there is good hope that the young democracy will stay put and develop.
According to first estimates (the final results will be announced within 10 days), the ballot on July 5 failed to give any of the candidates an absolute majority which means there will be a second round of elections on 20 September.
According to the Indonesian electoral commission retired General Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, obtained 33.1 of the votes; outgoing President Megawati Sukarnoputri, daughter of former president Sukarno, about 26.4%, and General Wiranto, about 23.2% consensus. Lagging far behind the remaining two candidates Amien Rais, head of the legislative commission and Hamzah Haz, outgoing vice president.
The 5 July poll held without incidents of violence was the first direct vote for presidency in Indonesia since the end of the Suharto regime in 1998.
(PA) (Agenzia Fides 6/7/2004 lines 21 words 214)