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President Yudhoyono looks set to win re-election

A first “quick count” of sample votes appears to show Indonesia’s incumbent President Susilo Babang Yudhoyono heading for a landslide victory in the country’s presidential election, the second in Indonesia’s history.


Indonesian President Susilo Babang Yudhoyono looked set for a landslide win as polls closed in the World’s largest Muslim country.

By the time more than half of Indonesia’s leading LSI polling agency's sample of votes had been counted, the former army general's tally stood at a commanding 58.2%.

Another poll broadcast on Indonesian television gave Yudhoyono over 60% of votes, with rivals Megawati Sukarnoputri on 27% and outgoing Vice-President Jusuf Kalla on 13%.

Final official results are not expected for several days but the unofficial figures suggest Yudhoyono will avoid a second-round run-off in September.

"I think it's clear now that Yudhoyono has won in one round," Jakarta-based political risk analyst Kevin O'Rourke told Reuters.

The election – Indonesia’s second direct vote for a president since the fall of Suharto’s dictatorship in 1998 – is expected to determine the pace of reforms and cement the country’s transition to democracy.

Only a decade ago, Indonesia was considered the sick man of Asia. After 32 years of rule by Suharto, who oversaw a system of entrenched corruption and nepotism, it stood on the brink of political, social and financial collapse.

Yudhoyono's government has since brought political stability, peace and the best economic performance in a decade.

"Today is the people's day," Yudhoyono told reporters after casting his vote in the town of Bogor, on Java island.

Voter list controversy

Close to 176 million people were eligible to vote but a controversy over voter lists marred the run-up to the election. The campaign teams of Yudhoyono's two rivals have complained about millions of duplicate names. In some cases, they claim, the names of dead people and children appeared on the electoral rolls.

Their barrage of complaints may have fanned public doubt about the credibility of the process, and could make it easier for the losers to challenge the result.

Megawati and Kalla have adopted a more nationalist tone than Yudhoyono in their campaigns, promising to squeeze more from the country's rich resources to pay for policies that favour the poor.

FRANCE 24 correspondent Nelson Rand says many voters have boycotted the election “claiming the country’s democracy was being shaped too much by figures from the country’s troubled past.”

“Three of the candidates for vice-president were generals who served under Suharto, and two of them have a bloody past,” he added, while “Megawati herself was a protégé and loyalist of Suharto.”

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