Wed, Jul 29, 2009 - Page 5 News List

Megawati contests Indonesia poll result

RUN-OFF DEMAND: Former president Megawati Sukarnoputri wants the second-round presidential vote to be held again or a recount called for the July 8 election

AFP , JAKARTA

Opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri launched a Constitutional Court challenge yesterday to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s re-election victory.

The daughter of independence hero Sukarno has refused to accept the results of the July 8 polls, which she lost in a landslide to Yudhoyono, just as she lost the previous election to him in 2004.

“First, we want a second-round presidential election run-off or at least SBY has to bring back the people’s trust by competing in the run-off with us,” Megawati’s legal advisor Arteria Dahlan said, using Yudhoyono’s nickname.

“Second, if that’s not granted, then we want the vote to be counted again across Indonesia. “Third, we have proof that there were problems in 25 provinces, so we want the presidential election to be held again in those 25 provinces,” Dahlan said.

Ex-president Megawati, 62, also complained about irregularities before April general elections which were deemed valid and which saw Yudhoyono’s centrist Democrat Party triple its vote to become the strongest group in parliament.

Ahead of the presidential polls she complained about inaccurate voter lists and missing polling stations, and suggested the Democrats were trying to rig the ballot.

She accepted a Constitutional Court ruling two days before the election that allowed people to vote with their identity cards, in a bid to solve the problem of incomplete voter lists.

But Dahlan said the election commission (KPU) had been negligent and accused it of organizing the polls poorly.

“What we are after is the KPU itself. What we criticize is the KPU’s neglect that has impacted on our vote,” he said.

Official results announced by the KPU on Saturday gave Yudhoyono 60.8 percent of the vote, far ahead of Megawati with 26.8 percent and Vice President Jusuf Kalla with 12.4 percent.

But Megawati believes she has won 35.09 percent compared to 48.70 for Yudhoyono, close enough to force the pair to contest a run-off in September, her chief legal advisor Gayus Lumbuun said.

Kalla has also challenged the results at the Constitutional Court, saying millions of people were left off the official voter lists. He said his challenge was about protecting the future of democracy in a country that emerged from 32 years of dictatorship only 11 years ago.

“It’s not a matter of winning or losing,” Antara news agency quoted him as saying at an event at his Makassar residence called “JK goes home — JK hero of democracy.”

“The principle is that this nation must progress properly, honestly and democratically, because the democratic process must be implemented correctly and fairly,” he said.

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