Indonesians have gone to the polls in the first of two elections that could determine whether Southeast Asia’s biggest economy pushes ahead with key reforms.
The world’s largest Muslim-populated country needs, like others, to stimulate growth, attract investment and create jobs. Its a logistical nightmare. More than 170 million registered voters across an archipelago of 17 thousand islands will choose from thousands of candidates for the national and local parliaments. This election is the forerunner for the more important Presidential vote on July the 8th, when outgoing leader Democrat Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is widely tipped to win a second five year term. His main opponent is former President Megawati Sukarnoputri, who was criticised during her tenure for failing to tackle corruption. Indonesia now ranks at South East Asia’s largest democracy, in global terms coming just behind the US and India. Despite the logistical problems, campaigning has been peaceful. Polls close later today but the result won’t be known until the end of the month.