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Landmark Presidential Election in Indonesia - 2004-07-04


Indonesians go to the polls Monday to vote for the first time in a direct presidential election, with incumbent Megawati Sukarnoputri possibly headed for defeat.

Opinion polls have President Megawati trailing General Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, a former security minister.

President Megawati, the daughter of Indonesia's revered first president Sukarno, took office three years ago after Parliament fired her erratic predecessor, Abdurrahman Wahid. (Like all previous Indonesian heads of state, Ms. Megawati was chosen by lawmakers, not by a popular vote.) She has been credited with bringing political and economic stability to Indonesia, but critics say she has not done enough to raise wages or fight rampant government corruption.

If none of the five candidates wins 50 percent of the vote, the top two will will face off in a second round in September.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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