Nation/World

Suharto Has Lock On Election Violence Marks Indonesia Vote; Intimidation And Fraud Charged

President Suharto’s ruling party won three-quarters of the votes cast in tightly controlled elections for a largely ceremonial Parliament, according to results released Friday.

Suharto’s Golkar party was widely expected to gain a sweeping victory in Thursday’s elections. Golkar has won all five parliamentary elections since 1971, when Suharto established an electoral system critics say was designed to insure his dominance.

But the runup to the election in the world’s most populous Muslim nation was far from smooth, with some 300 people dying in the days prior to the vote. In the worst incident, 133 people were killed when rioters set fire to a shopping mall on Borneo.

Government opponents, including pro-democracy leader Megawati Sukarnoputri, were barred from running, and observers said the balloting was marred by widespread voter intimidation and fraud.

With 85 percent of the vote counted late Friday, Golkar had 78.7 million votes - 74 percent of the 106.4 million ballots tabulated and the party’s biggest margin of victory ever.

The win makes it all but certain the new Legislature and 500 other government appointees will re-elect Suharto, 75, to a seventh five-term next year.

The only other parties the government allowed to run won just a fraction of the vote.

The big loser was the Indonesian Democratic Party, deserted by supporters after the army had its popular leader, Megawati, removed last year as its chairwoman. It got only 3.2 million votes, or 3 percent. Prior to the ballot, Megawati had announced she would not vote at all in protest.

Several critics of the government were charged with subversion or barred from running for the 425 seats at stake in Parliament. Another 75 seats are filled by military appointees.



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