Quick count shows PDI-P leading in Indonesia's legislative polls

Jakarta Governor and PDI-P presidential candidate Joko Widodo is all smiles when asked about the lead maintained by his party in a quick count of polls. He was swarmed by reporters waiting outside his house in Jakarta on April 9,  2014. -- PHOTO
Jakarta Governor and PDI-P presidential candidate Joko Widodo is all smiles when asked about the lead maintained by his party in a quick count of polls. He was swarmed by reporters waiting outside his house in Jakarta on April 9,  2014. -- PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

WITH over 50 per cent of the votes counted, former president Megawati Sukarnoputri's Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle (PDI-P) is pulling ahead of its rivals in Indonesia's legislative elections on Wednesday.

Pollsters say PDI-P, the main opposition party which has named Jakarta govenor Joko "Jokowi" Widodo as its presidential candidate, has won 19.08 per cent of the popular vote.

Trailing behind are Golkar, the former party of strongman Suharto, with 14.66 per cent, the Gerindra party of ex-general Prabowo Subianto, with 12.13 per cent, and Democratic Party, with 9.68 per cent, according to a quick count by Saiful Mujani-Lembaga Survei Indonesia.

This is a disappointing outcome for President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's Democratic Party, which secured 20.9 per cent of the vote and 148 seats in the 2009 legislative elections.

The National Awakening Party (PKB) is the best performing Islamic party thus far with 8.87 per cent, replacing the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), which has secured only 6.92 per cent.

PKB, the party of the late President Aburrahman Wahid or Gus Dur, has been helped in its campaign finances and organisation by the entry of Mr Rusdi Kirana, an ethnic Chinese tycoon whose family controls giant airline Lion Air.

PKS has been badly hurt by the corruption scandals of its leaders.

Wednesday's election went on without reports of violence, leading Dr Yudhoyono to describe the process as "peaceful and democratic".

"It is one more step towards Indonesia becoming a mature democracy," he told reporters after voting in Bogor in West Java. "Indonesians must be thankful that our democratic journey is headed on the right path."

Some 186 million eligible voters in Indonesia went to the polls to choose their representatives at four levels - MPs in the 560-seat national parliament, provincial assembly, district or city assembly, and the 132-seat regional representative council.

They voted at over 545,000 polling stations across the sprawling archipelago of 17,000 islands, from the highlands of Papua to islands off the coast of Aceh.

Over 200,000 candidates from 12 national parties are vying for a total of 19,699 seats.

The vote will also determine which parties will be able to put forth a pair of candidates for the July 9 presidential election.

Parties must obtain at least 20 per cent of the seats in the national Parliament, or 25 per cent of the popular vote.

The poll comes after 21 days of vigorous campaigning from parties and candidates, and three cooling-off days, which ended on Tuesday.

Counting commenced at 1.30pm local time, about half an hour after the polls closed.

Although official final results will not be released until early May, quick count results give a fairly accurate indicator of how voters leaned.

casschew@sph.com.sg

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