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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 September, 2004, 14:31 GMT 15:31 UK
Indonesia press looks to future
Megawati Sukarnoputri (l) and Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (r)
Yudhoyono looks set to unseat Megawati

Newspapers in Indonesia are in buoyant mood as preliminary results from the presidential elections suggest a decisive victory by retired general Susilo Yudhoyono.

There is a belief that the election is another milestone in cementing democracy in Indonesia, with one paper singling out trailing incumbent Megawati Sukarnoputri for particular praise for her role in the process.

There are, however, also warnings that the new president will have many problems to resolve.

A victorious day for everyone
Commentator in Republika

"We should be proud" is the verdict of Surabaya's Jawa Pos. "The peaceful and well-managed presidential election shows that this nation has passed the test with flying colours."

Indonesia, it believes, has "become one of the nations that can practise democracy correctly and fairly".

Megawati's achievement

"A victorious day for everyone", trumpets a commentator in Republika, convinced that "the new pair of SBY-Kalla [Susilo Yudhoyono and Jusuf Kalla]" will be president and vice-president for the next five years.

Jakarta's Media Indonesia reserves special praise for Mrs Megawati, describing her role in ensuring direct general elections as "Megawati's golden work".

Whoever becomes the sixth president will not enjoy the presidential soft seat if he or she really listens to the sorrows and anxieties of the people
Suara Pembaruan

"Mega has taken the initiative, fully realizing that it is very likely that she would be defeated in a direct presidential election. Nevertheless, she has decided to face the consequences."

An editorial in Republika speaks of "this golden chance for all Indonesian political elites, religious and social figures to unite and enter the gate which society has opened".

Not all plain sailing

"Our society is tired of hoping and being dragged into uncertainties and conflicts. It is now time to realize the peoples' expectations."

A commentator in Jakarta's Suara Pembaruan similarly calls on the next president to tackle the country's many difficulties.

"Whoever becomes the sixth president of the Republic of Indonesia will not enjoy the presidential soft seat if he or she really listens to the sorrows and anxieties of the people."

"If we agree that to listen is to obey, the sorrows and anxieties are realities which must be resolved."

Suara Karya warns that the next leader will both need to "form a government of professionals" and also have an "understanding of the crisis" facing the country.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

The BBC's Rachel Harvey
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