04/09/2014, 00.00
INDONESIA
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Exit polls show Megawati leading in Indonesian elections thanks to the "Widodo effect"

Early results show the PDIP of former President Megawati leading the pack with almost 20 per cent of the vote, riding on the coattails of the Jakarta governor, who is poised to run in the upcoming presidential poll. The Golkar Party is in second place. Islamist parties are a flop. Mired in scandals and corruption accusations, outgoing President Yudhoyono's party fares badly.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Early exit polls indicate that the Indonesian Democracy Party-Struggle (PDI-P), led by former president Megawati Sukarnoputri, is set to win in today's parliamentary election. Although official results are not yet available, several independent analysts and groups believe the nationalist party will turn out to be the real winner in the poll.

Election results released by one of the many research institutes said that after 51.09 per cent of ballots were, the PDI-P was ahead with 19.18 per cent of the vote, followed by the Golkar Party of former President Suharto with 15.27 per cent, and Gerindra (Great Indonesia Movement Party), led by former Army Special Forces Commander Prabowo Subianto, with 11.72 per cent of the vote.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's Democrat Party lost badly, managing only to be in fourth place, with just 10.11 per cent. However, this was expected, local political experts said, because of the numerous cases of corruption involving members of the president's administration and top party brass.

Islamist parties fared even worse, with the Justice and Prosperous Party (PKS) taking home only 6.06 per cent of the vote, punished by voters for its own brush with corruption and bribery cases.

The moderate National Awakening Party PKB), inspired by former reformist President Abdurrahman 'Gus Dur' Wahid, won 9.58 per cent with two other moderates parties gaining about 7 and 6 per cent respectively.

Voters in the world's most populous Muslim nation can also celebrate a largely violence- and tension-free three-week election campaign, except for some clashes in Papua with local separatists.

Voters seem to be getting more politically savvy, with radical Islamist parties losing steam as a result of various scandals.

The PDI-P victory could also help Joko Widodo, the current governor of Jakarta, in the upcoming presidential election (9 July), creating a 'Jokowi' (as the governor is affectionately called) effect. 

A few days ago, the Catholic Church appealed to Indonesians, especially Christian Indonesians, to vote according to their ​​"ethical and moral" values.

"Your vote is important," it said in a letter, "because those who will be elected in the general election will shape the future of the nation and will affect, among other things, its social and economic well-being." Hence, "assert your civil rights and participate in the country's political life in order to shape its future." (MH)

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