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Akbar Tandjung sentence quashed JAKARTA - Indonesia's Supreme Court has overturned the conviction of House Speaker Akbar Tandjung, clearing the way for his presidential bid which could bring Suharto's Golkar party back to power. Tandjung had been convicted in 2002 of misappropriating nearly $5 million in state funds in 1999 under President B.J. Habibie, who took office after long-time ruler Suharto was forced to resign.
If the Supreme Court had upheld the conviction, Tandjung would have been forced to serve the three-year sentence handed down by a lower court. Now, he could be among several candidates running for the country's first direct presidential elections in 2004 against incumbent President Megawati Sukarnoputri, whose approval rating has plummeted amid corruption allegations.
Although widely expected, the Supreme Court ruling sparked protests outside the courthouse Thursday and more students -- seeing the ruling as further evidence of widespread corruption -- are expected to take to the streets in protest later in the day. In April, parliamentary elections will determine which of the 24 parties competing in general elections have enough seats to nominate a president.
Tandjung is campaigning for the Golkar ticket against other candidates, including Indonesia's former armed forces chief, General Wiranto, who has emerged as one of the party's leading candidates. The presidential vote will be held in July. Election watchers say no single candidate is likely to win a majority, which means a likely runoff vote in August.



Posted in Elections @ 12 February 2004 00:04 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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