Indonesia plans new rules for 2009 election

Indonesia's president said on Saturday said he would overturn changes to voting regulations.

Indonesia plans new rules for 2009 election

Indonesia's president said on Saturday said he would overturn changes to voting regulations so that voters can pick both the candidate and the political party on the ballot papers in next year's general elections.

Southeast Asia's largest democracy and biggest economy will hold parliamentary elections on April 9. The outcome will determine which parties are eligible to field candidates for the presidential election soon after.

After the autocratic former President Suharto resigned in 1998, Indonesia introduced several political reforms, turning into a vibrant democracy. Dozens of parties are preparing to contest the parliamentary elections next year.

Under new regulations, the parties will have to award seats in parliament to those candidates who won the most votes, rather than to those who were ranked highest by the party itself, giving voters more power when it comes to choosing their parliamentary representatives.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who has said he will stand for re-election next year, said on Saturday he would reverse a previous ruling in which voters could only choose the candidate or the party in order to reduce confusion.

"The current law says two votes (one for the candidate, the other for the party) are illegitimate," Yudhoyono told a news conference.

"The logic is to choose the party as well as the individual. Therefore, we will make sure that it's being fixed so no parties are hurt."

In the 2004 elections, Golkar, Suharto's political machine, won the most seats in parliament, followed by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), former President Megawati Sukarnoputri's party.

Reuters
Last Mod: 27 Aralık 2008, 14:57
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