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Indonesian High Court Formally Declares Yudhoyono Winner of Presidential Election - 2004-10-07

Indonesia's highest court has formally confirmed that retired general Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono won last month's presidential elections, ending three days of uncertainty. Mr. Yudhoyono's aides say the next president will concentrate on bridging the political divide before his inauguration on October 20.

Indonesia's electoral commission announced Monday that Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had won more than 60 percent of the votes in the race to become the next president. But it was not until Thursday that the country's highest judicial body declared the result final.

The head of Indonesia's Constitutional Court, Judge Jimly Asshiddiqie, announces that given the vote tally, and the lack of any legal challenge from the beaten incumbent, President Megawati Sukarnoputri, Mr. Yudhoyono is formally declared the winner.

Mrs. Megawati has not conceded defeat in so many words, and aides to Mr. Yudhoyono had said he would not begin the process of taking power until he was finally declared the winner.

He still refrained from any public announcement Thursday, and senior aides said that the president-elect was eager not to be seen to be crowing over his victory.

Mr. Yudhoyono has pledged to put together a cabinet of technocrats to try and break the grip on power of the big political parties, which many voters believe have failed them.

But his Democrat Party controls less than 10 percent of the votes in parliament, and he will have to create some sort of power-sharing arrangement in order to rule. That might mean reaching out to party leaders like Mrs. Megawati for help.

Some of Mrs. Megawati's followers initially alleged vote fraud, but in a speech she made Tuesday, which has been widely interpreted as a message to her unhappy supporters, she said that everyone should accept the results of what was a democratic election.