JAKARTA - Indonesia's election commission has proposed July 5 next year as the date for the country's first direct presidential election, with a second round on September 20 if necessary. An official said the National Election Commission had approved the dates but they can be changed if the government and the legislature disagree. A presidential candidate must secure at least 51 percent of the votes to win on the first round.
The first round will shortlist candidates if none of them secures the minimum. A general election to choose MPs, regional representatives and district representatives will be held on April 5. Presidents were previously elected by the People's Consultative Assembly, the highest constitutional body. In July 2001 it sacked President Abdurrahman Wahid for alleged incompetence and elected his deputy Megawati Sukarnoputri.