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Explosion Mars Release of Indonesian Election Results - 2004-07-26

The results have been announced in the first round of Indonesia's presidential elections. But the day was marred by a small bomb planted in the headquarters of the country's election commission.

As expected, former Indonesian security minister Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will face President Megawati Sukarnoputri in a September runoff.

The head of Indonesia's election commission announced that the winner of the first round of voting was Mr. Yudhoyono. With 33.6 percent of the vote, he was well in front of the incumbent, President Megawati, who captured 26.6 percent.

The announcement of the results of the first round of voting was delayed for several hours after a small bomb exploded at the election commission offices. No one was injured in the blast, which did minor damage to a ladies toilet in the building in central Jakarta.

No one has claimed responsibility for the explosion, but Vice President Hamzah Haz told reporters that he believed it was planted by people who wanted to sabotage the democratic process. He did not elaborate.

Voters went to the polls on July 5 in the opening round of Indonesia's first national presidential election.

The main loser in the first round is General Wiranto, the candidate for Indonesia's largest political party, Golkar. The former head of the armed forces got just over 22 percent of the vote.

President Megawati and Mr. Yuhdoyono both ran on broadly similar platforms of fiscally conservative secular nationalism. Many polls show that Mr. Yudhoyono is likely to extend his lead in the second round, but some commentators think it will be a closer race than many predict.

Indonesia's long, drawn-out legislative and presidential elections have been largely peaceful, despite widespread predictions of violence in the days before the polls.

A dispute over double-punched ballot papers has created some friction, and some campaign teams have called for a recount, a massive operation in a country with more than 155-million registered voters. Most observers, however, judged the polls to have been fair.