Indons get to elect president directly

JAKARTA: Indonesia's parliament passed legislation yesterday that paves the way for the country's first direct presidential election. 

The new law sets the qualifications required of presidential candidates, which essentially allow the top three candidates to run. 

It also sets the minimum results that a party must achieve in legislative elections to put up a presidential candidate. 

“We agreed to endorse this Bill so that people can elect their own president directly.  

“It is one of our best achievements,'' said Hamdan Zulva, a legislator from the Islamic-based Moon and Crescent Party. 

Voters in the world's most populous Muslim nation cast ballots next April for the 550-member parliament and then for a president and vice-president in July. 

If no presidential candidate receives 50% of the total vote and 20% in all provinces, the top two vote getters will face a run-off election sometime in September next year. 

Legislators say the new law will not require candidates to have a university degree, thus allowing President Megawati Sukarnoputri to run for re-election despite never finishing her college studies. 

It also will allow convicted lawbreakers whose cases are under judicial review to run, giving parliament speaker Akbar Tandjung a chance to become president. – AP  

For Another perspective from the Jakarta Post, a partner of Asia News Network, click here

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