Early Results in Indonesian Poll Don't Bode Well for Megawati

By Patrick Goodenough | July 7, 2008 | 8:15 PM EDT

Pacific Rim Bureau (CNSNews.com) - Very early results from Indonesia's parliamentary elections give President Megawati Sukarnoputri's party a slim lead, while generally upholding pre-election predictions of a highly fractured national legislature in the years ahead.

The results released by Indonesia's electoral commission Tuesday morning were based on a mere 400,000 votes, in an election for which 147 million people were eligible to vote. Final party placings could therefore be substantially different.

Currently, Megawati's Indonesia Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) leads with around 21 percent, followed closely by the National Awakening Party of former president Abdurrahman Wahid at 20 percent. Golkar, the party associated with former president Gen. Suharto, is in third place with 16 percent.

As expected, two new parties are doing well. The Democratic Party of former chief security minister, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is running in fourth place with just over 12 percent, followed by the fundamentalist Islamic Justice Welfare Party (PKS) at 11 percent.

The full results are not expected for days yet.

Although Megawati's PDI-P is leading for now, early signs do not give it the type of lead it enjoyed in 1999, when it achieved 34 percent to Golkar's second-placed 22.5 percent.

If no one party attains a majority in the 550-seat parliament, as predicted, the election will be followed by coalition-building efforts as the more successful parties position themselves ahead of Indonesia's first direct election for a president, in July.

Recent polls have put Susilo as favorite to win the presidential election, followed by Megawati, although the results of the parliamentary poll and post-election coalition maneuvering could change the outlook significantly.

Susilo was Megawati's security chief until he resigned last month, reportedly after differences with the president. He has been credited with some important successes in the fight against terrorism in the world's largest Muslim country.

See earlier story:
Indonesian Voters Expected to Sideline Their President (April 05, 2004)

Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.

Patrick Goodenough
Patrick Goodenough
Spencer Journalism Fellow