SBY wins Indonesia’s first round vote

After weeks of vote tallying in the vast archipelago, officials have confirmed Yudhoyono has won 33.6 percent of the July 5 vote, compared to 26.6 percent for Megawati and 22.2 percent for Wiranto.

Former armed forces commander Wiranto will drop out of the race to lead the world’s fourth most populous country because only the top two candidates contest the runoff.

Another two other candidates finished further behind, Muslim lawmaker Amien Rais garnered 14.7 percent, while vice-president Hamzah Haz came last with 3 percent.

The result was delayed several hours after a bomb rocked the election commission offices, heightening security fears in the eight-week run-up to the second vote.

Police said no one was hurt and damage was slight, but Yudhoyono appealed for tighter security.

“Don’t let it (bombing) happen in another place,” said Yudhoyono, who led the country’s fight against terrorism when he was Megawati’s security minister.

“If they are living in anxiety, it can influence the people in casting their votes, in doing the right thing in accordance with their conscience.”

Wiranto, who stood for the Golkar party of former dictator Suharto, has challenged his third placing, claiming the vote was flawed. The party said it will contest the result in Indonesia’s constitutional court.

Yudhoyono, 54, quit Megawati’s cabinet in March, complaining she was freezing him out. In the April election her party lost almost 40 percent of its support with millions of voters disgruntled over lacklustre growth, rising prices, massive unemployment and widespread corruption.

Yudhoyono is the favourite for the September run-off, although analysts say the race will be close, especially if Megawati wins the support of Golkar, the country’s largest political party.

The elections marked the first time Indonesia’s 210 million people have voted directly for their president, and were seen as a key step in the country’s transition to democracy six years after the fall of ex-dictator Suharto.

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