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 6 Apr 2009

Indonesia election campaigns to wrap up today

The 20-day campaign season comes to a close today, with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono livening up the party’s efforts in Yogyakarta on Saturday as his predecessor, Megawati Soekarnoputri, turned Jakarta red on the same day, reported the Jakarta Post.

The official campaign period will be followed by a three day “cooling-off” period in the run up to voting day on Thursday. More than 171 million people are expected to vote in the legislative elections.

Jakarta was a sea of red as some 100,000 supporters of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) flocked to Bung Karno Sports Stadium on buses, trucks, motorcycles and on foot to take part in the party’s last campaign rally for 2009.

The political campaign, which featured PDI-P Chairman Megawati Soekarnoputri, did not cause major traffic congestion, as the majority of workers in the city had the day off, allowing traffic police to quickly and easily disperse traffic jams.

Recalling her four-year term as President between 2000 and 2004, Megawati said she did her best, but that initiatives she took were not followed through with by her successors and said conditions had worsened, with an increasing number of unemployed and poor people.

“Indonesia is a resource-rich country but it has failed to use its natural wealth to improve the people’s economic livelihood,” she said. She commended her party’s performance as the opposition over the past five years and said it had made internal consolidations in preparations to contend in the upcoming legislative and presidential elections.

Speaking to thousands of Yogyakartans near the Royal Palace, Yudhoyono meanwhile pledged to fight for the province’s special needs, as the city is one of the country’s prominent cultural icons, given its historical importance.

“Let’s together formulate the province’s specialties,” he said. Yudhoyono, accompanied by First Lady Ani Yudhoyono and their son Edhie Baskoro Yudhoyono, a legislative candidate from Ngawi in East Java, defended the government’s pro-people development programs, including the cash aid and the poverty and unemployment alleviation programmes.




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