Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Indonesia Presidential Election Run-off

Today, millions of Indonesians voted in a landmark election expected to remove President Megawati Sukarnoputri and install an ex-general who has vowed firmer leadership in fighting terror and boosting the economy.

The election run-off between frontrunner Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Megawati in Indonesia's first direct presidential ballot caps a turbulent and bloody six years since longtime strongman Suharto stepped down in 1998.

The election comes 11 days after Islamic militants believed to be from the al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiah killed nine people and wounded 182 with a car bomb outside the Australian embassy in Jakarta, the third major attack in as many years.

The first of some 151 million registered voters to cast their ballots were in eastern Indonesia, including in Ambon in the Moluccas island province, 1,440 miles east of Jakarta, where deadly Muslim-Christian clashes erupted recently.

With several time zones, most polls will be open for six hours with those in the west closing at 1.00 p.m. Jakarta time (2 a.m. EDT).

Early results should start coming in on Monday night and a final result will be declared on Oct. 5.

We, in the ASA will always keep in touch with our friends in Indonesia about the update and the development of the presidential election time to time.