Wed, Apr 15, 2009 - Page 5 News List

Indonesian election draws criticism

AFP , JAKARTA

Indonesian political leaders hold a joint press conference after meeting in Jakarta yesterday to discuss complaints about irregularities in last week’s general elections.

PHOTO: AFP

A group of Indonesian political parties led by the main opposition Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) was meeting yesterday to discuss irregularities in last week’s general elections, officials said.

The parties were expected to sign a joint declaration condemning the organization of the vote, which has been subject to hundreds of complaints about problems such as inaccurate voter lists and missing ballot papers.

“They will have a joint statement regarding the process of the elections,” said Yus Usman Sukmanegara, secretary-general of the Hanura party led by former military chief Wiranto.

Independent polling agencies have said Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party won the most votes with around 20.48 percent.

Final official results are not expected until early next month.

The Electoral Commission has been criticized for its poor organization of the poll, with reports of incomplete voter lists and delays in distributing ballot papers across the archipelago’s 6,000 inhabited islands.

The Election Supervisory Body said it had received more than 1,000 complaints of irregularities surrounding Thursday’s vote.

It was only the third general election in Indonesia since the fall of strongman Suharto in 1998.

The poll has kicked off intense talks between political parties hoping to form coalitions ahead of presidential elections in July.

A party or coalition must have 20 percent of seats in the lower house or 25 percent of the national vote to nominate a presidential candidate.

The PDI-P of former president Megawati Sukarnoputri — Yudhoyono’s chief competitor in the presidential race — gained an estimated 14.33 percent of the vote and Golkar, of the outgoing ruling coalition, was third with 13.95 percent.

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