Indonesian opposition on top in legislature
May 11, 2014, 12:00 am TWN
JAKARTA, Indonesia -- The official count confirmed Friday the victory of Indonesia's biggest opposition party in last month's legislative elections, giving its star candidate a boost ahead of an upcoming presidential race.
Chairman of Electoral Commission Husni Kamil Manik announced that the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle of former President Megawati Sukarnoputri garnered nearly 19 percent of the vote in the April 9 election for the 560-seat House of Representatives.
Trailing second was Golkar Party with nearly 15 percent followed by the Great Indonesia Movement Party, which pulled almost 12 percent. The ruling Democratic Party of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono garnered 10 percent to place fourth.
The victory gave momentum to Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo, who was picked by Megawati to run in the July 9 presidential election, where Yudhoyono, whose party has been ensnared in a spate of high-profile corruption scandals, is constitutionally barred from seeking a third term.
Widodo, known affectionately as Jokowi, was the mayor of the Central Java town of Solo before being elected last year to govern the Indonesian capital. He is so far the only candidate to have secured a ticket for the election under a coalition between PDI-P and the newly-established Nasional Demokrat, which gathered nearly seven percent.
Jokowi is a newcomer to national politics, but his simple style, humble background and willingness to reach out to the poor have attracted legions of supporters in the world's third-largest democracy after India and the United States.
Two other top presidential contenders include business tycoon Aburizal Bakrie of Golkar and former general Prabowo Subianto of Gerindra.
Parties need to secure 20 percent of the seats in the House of Representatives or 25 percent of the overall vote to nominate a candidate. Otherwise, a coalition must be formed with one or more parties.
Distribution of seats for 10 political parties in the Parliament will be announced May 18, the same day the registration is opened for presidential candidates.
Some 200,000 candidates from 12 parties were vying for nearly 20,000 slots in legislative elections, including 6,607 competing for the 560-seat House and 945 for regional representatives or the Senate. The rest were competing for provincial and local councils.