04/09/2009, 00.00
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President Susilo’s party favoured in elections

Indonesians cast their ballot to renew their parliament. The vote will provide crucial indications as to who will run in the July presidential elections. Vote was marred by violence in Jayapura, capital of Papua province where six people were killed and several others wounded. Islamic-based parties are expected to get each 4 per cent of the vote.
 Jakarta (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Indonesians voted today. About 171 million voters in the predominantly Muslim country cast their ballot in parliamentary, provincial and district elections. But this Election Day will also shape the upcoming presidential election scheduled for July. In fact any party or coalition that elects one fifth of the 560-member People's Representative Council or obtains 25 per cent of overall vote has the right to present a candidate to the presidency.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's Democratic Party is expected to do well, which could help the former general in his re-election bid.

Polling stations closed at noon today (5 GMT), but since the country is spread over several time zones, voting continued.

The complex electoral system complicates matters. Voters directly choose a single candidate, not a party.

Accusations of vote exchanges and rigging have been made as a result of the slow counting in the country’s more than 500,000 polling stations that are strewn across the vast archipelago.

Violent incidents have also been reported yesterday. In the city of Jayapura, capital of Papua province, about a hundred people, armed with spears and machetes, stormed a police station; six people died and several more were wounded.

Law enforcement also found about ten bombs and arrested 15 people.

The attack was blamed on local separatist movements active in the province for many years. 

Some analysts expect the Democratic Party to win 26 per cent of the popular vote, a result which would allow President Susilo to run in the upcoming presidential election without support from outside his party.

Surveys indicate that the Indonesian Democratic Party of former President Megawati Sukarnoputri should get 14 per cent of the vote, followed by Golkar, the party of former dictator Suharto, at 13 per cent.

The four Islamic-based parties came in at around 4 per cent each.

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