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Golkar Wins Indonesian Parliamentary Elections - 2004-05-05


In Indonesia, the General Election Commission has announced the final results of last month's parliamentary vote. The big established nationalist-secular parties have won the most seats, but newer parties have made gains on anti-corruption agendas, which challenge the old political ways.

Indonesia's once long-ruling Golkar Party captured the most votes in the April election with 22 percent. President Megawati Sukarnoputri's Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle came in a disappointing second with just fewer than 19 percent, nearly half of what it won in 1999.

No one party won a majority in the 550-seat parliament, making alliances more of a focus.

And it appears that new smaller parties are on the rise with platforms promising to tackle entrenched corruption.

Paul Rowland is the head of the independent National Democratic Institute's office in Jakarta.

"I think corruption is an issue that threads through everything and ? I think it was reinforced by the election campaign as much as anything else," Mr. Rowland said.

Two upstart parties on the anti-graft drive, the Democrat Party and the Prosperous Justice Party, took more than seven percent of the vote each.

The leader of the Democrat Party, former security minister Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, is widely tipped to win the country's first-ever direct presidential elections in July.

Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim country, but Muslim parties failed to capitalize on the discontent with the incumbents.

Analysts say it is too early to predict Indonesia's new political landscape. They say that the lack of any dominant party might make the country more difficult to govern, particularly by anyone with a strong reformist agenda. But they also say that relatively weak showing by the two major parties might be the wake up call the political elite needs to shock them into being more responsive to the desires of the electorate.

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