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Indonesia: President's party poised to win most seats

  • Story Highlights
  • 12,000 people, 38 parties vying for one of 700 parliamentary
  • Third direct election since the authoritarian regime of Suharto fell in 1998
  • Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation
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JAKARTA, Indonesia (CNN) -- The party of Indonesia's president is poised to win the most seats in parliament, according to unofficial election results posted Friday.

Analysts say that barring a major crisis, Yudhoyono will most likely win a second term.

A woman shows her finger after voting at a polling booth in Jakarta.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's Democratic Party is in the lead with over 20 percent of the popular vote, according to Indonesia's General Electoral Commission. The final tally is not expected for more than a week.

Based on the partial results, the ruling party will receive three times more votes than it did in the 2004 parliamentary election. However, it will likely fall short of the 25 percent of votes -- or 20 percent of parliament seats -- needed to nominate a presidential candidate on its own.

That means Yudhoyono will have to form a coalition with its current partner, Golkar, or another political party in order to put forward a candidate in the July presidential race.

The partial results show Megawati Sukarnoputri's Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, or PDI-P, in second place with 14.6 percent of the vote and Vice President Jusuf Kalla's Golkar party with 14 percent of the vote.

Indonesian voters chose from nearly 12,000 candidates from 38 political parties in Thursday's legislative election. It is the country's second direct election since the authoritarian regime of Suharto fell in 1998, in the wake of the Asian financial crisis.

Voting was largely peaceful, but the country's Papua province was hit by violence on Thursday when about 80 separatist rebels, armed with machetes and firearms, attacked a police station and burned down part of a university, police said. Police said they shot one man dead as they repelled the attack, according to the Jakarta Post newspaper. Video Watch more about the vote »

Both incidents happened in Jayapura in Papua, where a separatist movement has simmered for years.

The elections will also determine the makeup of Indonesia's 132-member Regional Representatives Council, as well as its provincial, county and city assemblies.

More than 70 percent of Indonesia's 238 million people are expected to have cast ballots. Video Watch what's at stake in the elections »

Even before the voting began, there were serious concerns about the legitimacy of the legislative election. Indonesia's voting process is complicated: For the first time, Indonesians can vote for an individual within a party and not just for the party.

New voting mechanisms were also causing confusion and could lead to an increased number of invalid ballots. There are allegations of fraudulent voter lists as well.

Several Indonesian students, and first-time voters, have voiced their disillusionment with the current parties and candidates.

"I choose not to vote," said Shohib, a student at State Islamic University in Jakarta. "I am disappointed with the leaders."

"I want someone who could lead Indonesia to be better ... who would hear people's aspirations and actually do something about it," said 18-year-old Wiendy Pranoto, a senior at Pesantran Al-Hamidiyah -- an Islamic school outside Jakarta.

Analysts warn that if the elections are viewed as illegitimate, voters will lose confidence, and anger that lingers below the surface could erupt.

Adding to the troubles is Indonesia's status as one of the most corrupt nations in the world, according to Transparency International.

Those factors -- corruption and the economy -- are what experts say are allowing a conservative Muslim movement to gain momentum. That movement says the current government's lack of piety is causing the nation's problems.

"The prize for the global conservative movement is Indonesia," said political analyst Jeffery Winters. "If Indonesia were to move in a direction of becoming a much more conservative Islamic state, it would trigger a number of consequences."


Most political parties have been running on a platform of anti-corruption. The governing Democratic Party has been taking action on corruption and is trying to capitalize on those gains.

Analysts say that, barring a major crisis, Yudhoyono will probably win a second term. The president is known as "Mr. Clean" because of his anti-corruption efforts. He has also gained popularity for his handling of the 2004 tsunami recovery and the country's battle against terrorism.

CNN's Andy Saputra, Arwa Damon and Tricia Escobedo contributed to this report.

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