Violence reported on last day of Indonesian campaigning
June 4, 1999
JAKARTA, Indonesia (Reuters) - An Indonesian election official was killed and several people injured in fresh election violence, newspapers reported on Friday, as campaigning for Monday's poll entered its final day.
The official died when unidentified gunmen opened fire on a truck carrying ballot papers in the restive province of Aceh on Thursday, where separatists have stepped up their guerrilla war, the Kompas daily reported.
A curfew has been imposed in the north of the province, a rebel stronghold.
Dozens of people were injured in the eastern island of Sulawesi on Thursday when supporters of rival parties clashed in the city of Ujung Pandang, about 1,400 km (870 miles) east of Jakarta, the Jakarta Post reported.
It said that most of the injured were supporters of the unpopular ruling Golkar party, who had clashed with supporters of several opposition parties.
The violence was the latest in a series of attacks against Golkar, for years the political vehicle of former President Suharto, since campaigning started on May 19.
Military officials have warned voting could be delayed in some parts of the country, especially Aceh, because of security concerns.
Golkar's turn in Jakarta
Hundreds of yellow-clad supporters of the ruling Golkar party gathered at a central roundabout.
They draped a Golkar flag from the prominent Welcome Monument in the center of the roundabout and waved banners.
"Golkar stands for development and experience," said Golkar activist Turja. "We will win at least 35 percent across the country."
Security was high after recent attacks on Golkar rallies, but there were no initial reports of trouble.
But the Golkar faithful were heavily outnumbered by several thousand People's Sovereignty Party (PDR) supporters at the same place.
The PDR has nominated controversial Cooperatives Minister Adi Sasono, who has been expelled from Golkar, as its candidate for a presidential election due in November.
Campaigning officially ends on Friday with Golkar getting the run of the capital ahead of a two-day cooling off period.
On Monday, Indonesia's 130 million voters will choose the first five-year parliament of the post-Suharto era in the first truly multiparty election in more than four decades.
Polls show no party is likely to win a clear majority and even Golkar officials concede the party's three-decade stranglehold on parliament is over.
However, analysts do not rule out a possible Golkar-led coalition government, although a reformist coalition is considered more likely.
There had been fears campaigning would spark an upsurge in the bloody communal unrest that has already killed hundreds of people this year. But the campaign has been largely peaceful.
The focus is now on the post-poll period.
Analysts say a strong performance by Golkar, still tarnished by its links to former President Suharto, or a weak showing by the populist PDI-P could spark an explosion of violence.
Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
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