INDONESIA - The Indonesian Democratic Party - Struggle (PDI-P) of Jakarta governor Joko Widodo won the biggest number of votes in the country's general election last month, official results showed, dovetailing with quick count results on the April 9 voting day itself.
The official results confirmed that 10 of the 12 political parties that contested nationwide met the vote threshold to enter Parliament.
PDI-P had 18.95 per cent of votes, followed by the Golkar Party led by tycoon Aburizal Bakrie with 14.75 per cent, and the Gerindra Party of former general Prabowo Subianto with 11.81 per cent.
The Democratic Party of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who cannot contest a third term, dropped out of the top three with just 10.19 per cent of votes. The National Awakening Party of former president Abdurrahman Wahid got 9.04 per cent, confirming its new position as the Islamic party with the biggest number of votes, replacing the Prosperous Justice Party.
Indonesia's election commission (KPU) announced the official results late last Friday, minutes before midnight, after a marathon final counting session, barely beating the deadline amid fears that the final tally might have to be delayed and pushing back schedules ahead of the July 9 presidential poll.
Thanking representatives of political parties, government and observers at the KPU's packed headquarters for helping to ensure a smooth and successful general election, commission chairman Husni Kamil Manik said: "Whatever has been achieved, the victors are the people of Indonesia."
In particular, Mr Husni and others hailed the rise in voter turnout - 75 per cent, compared to 71 per cent in 2009 - as a welcome sign, coming amid disillusionment over the political process.
The coming days will see more intense jockeying among the remaining parties to form and secure coalitions. It is unclear whether the Democrats will marshal their own coalition with several smaller parties that have been with them in the outgoing government, which ends its term on Oct 20.
To field a presidential pairing, candidates need to be backed by a party or group of parties with 20 per cent of the 560 seats in Parliament, or 25 per cent of the vote. Preliminary tallies suggest PDI-P is a few seats short of the 112-seat threshold.
This article was published on May 11 in The Straits Times.
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