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Monday, 11 October, 1999, 15:11 GMT 16:11 UK
Megawati confirmed Indonesia victor
A Jakarta street vendor sells stickers supporting Megawati's campaign
A Jakarta street vendor sells stickers for Megawati's campaign
Five weeks after Indonesia's first fully democratic election in decades, the official election committee has confirmed that the opposition Indonesian Democracy Party-Struggle (PDI-P) has won the largest share of the vote.

The final total still has to be formally approved by the 48 parties involved in the election and by the country's National Election Commission.

This is due to take place next week, but the results are not expected to change significantly.

The PDI-P, led by Megawati Sukarnoputri, daughter of Indonesia's founding President Sukarno, won 33.7% (35,687,071 votes) with the ruling Golkar party second on 22.4% (23,732,749 votes).

Falling short

However Megawati's share falls well short of that needed to assure her the presidency - even with the support of current coalition partners.

Indonesia's complex election system means the PDI-P will get a smaller proportion of seats in the Indonesian parliament than it won in votes - an expected 154 seats.

Indonesia Flashpoints
There have also been doubts expressed amongst Muslim politicians about the wisdom of a woman holding the presidency.

She also faces accusations of political inexperience.

All of which points to months of political horse-trading ahead as politicians hammer out coalition agreements.

Confident of victory

Megawati
Megawati: No guarantee she will win the presidency
Both Golkar and the PDI-P say they are confident they will be leading Indonesia into the next century.

On Monday Golkar officials denied they had been in negotiations with leading Islamic parties aimed at constructing a coalition to stay in power.

But observers say that Golkar hanging on to power could spark renewed street protests because many voters associate the party with the discredited Suharto regime.

Meanwhile the PDI-P has organised a petition in a number of cities for supporters to give thumbprints in their own blood calling for Megawati to be made president.

Delayed result

The count has taken much longer than expected, leading to accusations of ballot tampering.

Supporters make their mark - in blood - in favour of a Megawati presidency
Supporters make their mark - in blood - in favour of a Megawati presidency
Unfamiliarity with the new procedures and the difficulties in checking the votes from more than 300,000 polling stations also contributed to the delay and a number of local officials refused to release results until the government paid their salaries.

But officials say they were keen to demonstrate that the election was conducted as fairly and openly as possible - a claim supported by international monitors.

"The results show that we have a clear picture now," Jacob Tobing, chairman of the Indonesian election commission told journalists.

"We have successfully had a fair and transparent election for the first time after more than 44 years."

Free poll

The poll which took place on June 7 was widely seen as Indonesia's freest general election with 48 parties involved.

Policeman with ballot boxes
More than 100 million votes had to be counted
Under former President Suharto only three parties were allowed to compete in stage-managed ballots that guaranteed Golkar a comfortable majority.

The election result will determine the make up Indonesia's 500-seat parliament, less 38 which are set aside for the country's powerful military who are not permitted to vote.

Their presence could give the army a deciding role in who eventually comes to lead Indonesia.

Later this year the parliament will be joined by another 200 representatives - who have yet to be selected - to form the People's Consultative Assembly.

It is this body that will select Indonesia's next president - possibly in November.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Audio
Jakarta correspondent Jonathan Head:"Coalition building ahead"
Audio
BBC Jakarta Correspondent Jonathan Head: "The road to the presidency for Megawati is still long and treacherous"
See also:

02 Jun 99 | SPECIAL REPORT
07 Jun 99 | SPECIAL REPORT
20 Jun 99 | Asia-Pacific
25 Aug 99 | SPECIAL REPORT
10 Jun 99 | SPECIAL REPORT
08 Jun 99 | SPECIAL REPORT
Links to more Asia-Pacific stories are at the foot of the page.


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