Ex-gen, Megawati in phase II polls

Agence France Presse

Jakarta, July 6:

Former general Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the frontrunner in Indonesia’s presidential election, is likely to meet incumbent Megawati Sukarnoputri in a second-round runoff in September, official and independent vote counts indicated today. A new independent projection of the final result says Yudhoyono will end up with 33.2 per cent — short of the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff between the top two candidates. The projection also shows Megawati further ahead of the third main challenger, former armed forces chief Wiranto, than previously estimated. The US National Democratic Institute (NDI) and a local group called LP3ES, which forecast the April legislative election result accurately, said Megawati will get 26 per cent and Wiranto 23.3 per cent.

This is close to partial official election commission results, which give Yudhoyono 34 per cent compared to 27 per cent for Megawati and 22 per cent for Wiranto. Almost a quarter of the votes, some 30.2 million, have been officially tallied in the world’s third largest democracy.

"I am confident I can win (the first round)," Yudhoyono told reporters. "I am ready to go to the second round, whoever my competitors will be, because for me both Pak (honorific) Wiranto and Ibu Megawati have his or her own strengths and weaknesses. "I have to conduct a more effective campaign, communicate better with camps which did not make the second round," he said. Asked about a possible coalition, he replied: "In politics anything is possible but of course I have to develop my strategy to counter unnecessary tactics by my competitor. " Yudhoyono did not elaborate but has complained in the past of smear tactics by unspecified rivals.