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Megawati's party loses poll

By P. S. Suryanarayana

SINGAPORE: The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P in local parlance), led by the President, Megawati Sukarnoputri, has lost the country's latest parliamentary election that was held exactly a month ago. The results, as announced in Jakarta on Wednesday, showed that Golkar, the party that Indonesia's former authoritarian ruler, Suharto, had fostered, bagged 128 seats out of 550 at stake in the new House of Representatives, while Ms. Megawati's outfit secured 109. Her party's tally of popular vote dropped to about 18.5 per cent from over 30 per cent in the previous House. Golkar's latest share was just over 21.5 per cent. Golkar is expected to field a former military chief, Wiranto, as Ms. Megawati's challenger in the country's more important poll for executive presidency on July 5. While a few other parties, too, could field candidates, on the basis of their share of the vote in the latest general election, the people would, for the first time, have a direct say in the choice of their President. The National Awakening Party of the former President, Abdurrahman Wahid, secured 52 seats in the new Parliament, the same tally as that of the National Mandate Party of Amien Rais, a key politician.

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