JAKARTA: The Golkar party founded by former dictator Suharto kept its lead yesterday in Indonesia's general election and its leader Akbar Tanjung won more backing in his bid for the presidency.
With 89 million votes counted after the April 5 elections, Golkar had 20.99% compared to 19.67% for President Megawati Sukarnoputri's ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).
Tanjung has already claimed victory, saying most of the votes still to be tallied will come from his party's power base in outlying regions.
Megawati will have to battle to keep her job in a presidential election on July 5 after PDI-P's poor showing compared to 1999, when it took 34% of the votes.
Her former security minister Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, whose new Democrat party performed strongly in the elections, is by far the front-runner, according to opinion surveys.
Tanjung, one of Indonesia's wiliest and most experienced politicians, will face five other Golkar candidates at a convention next Tuesday to pick the party's presidential candidate.
Tanjung was convicted of graft involving food aid for the poor but was cleared in February on appeal to the Supreme Court.
Opinion surveys have shown him ranked only fourth or so among people's presidential preferences.
But some analysts still expect him to secure Golkar's nomination given that he has apparently delivered victory in the parliamentary polls. – AFP