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Jump in vote count boosts Megawati JAKARTA - A spurt in votes counted in Indonesia's parliamentary elections on Wednesday put President Megawati Sukarnoputri's party neck-and-neck with the former political vehicle of ex-strongman Suharto. Earlier Golkar, Suharto's old party, had led the count. But the new totals still represented only 12 percent of the electorate, and opinion polls before the election as well as a scientific sampling of results afterwards suggest that Golkar will emerge on top when the count is done.
The new figures were for over 18 million votes -- three quarters from Java, a stronghold of Megawati's Indonesia Democratic Party-Struggle (PDI-P) -- out of an electorate of 147 million. PDI-P had taken just over 20 percent and Golkar just under. In the 1999 election, PDI-P took 34 percent and Golkar 23. The poorer PDI-P showing compared to 1999 is in line with polls that have showed that many voters feel Megawati's government has failed to live up to promises to fight graft and improve people's lives.
"(They) said they are the party for common people but the fact is all prices of necessities have risen," said Wirdodo, 38, a worker at a furniture firm. Wirdodo, from Indonesia's second largest city, Surabaya, voted for the Democrat Party, whose most prominent member is ex-general and former security minister Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Opinion polls already showed him leading Megawati in the July 5 presidential ballot for which the parliamentary vote sets the stage. A good performance by the Democrats in the count so far is a further boost to his reputation.
"What we see is that many who voted for the Democrat Party are voters who supported PDI-P in 1999," said Rustam Ibrahim, head of the Institute for Social and Economic Research which is part of a group that has done extensive opinion surveys.



Posted in Elections @ 07 April 2004 00:06 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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