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SLUG: 2-314783 Indonesia Elections UPD (L)
TITLE= INDONESIA ELECTIONS UPDATE (L)
BYLINE= SCOTT BOBB
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INTRO: In Indonesia, election officials are beginning to count the votes from Monday's elections. Correspondent Scott Bobb reports from Jakarta that organizers say it is too early to report trends, but they say the vote for the most part was peaceful and without incident.
TEXT: Officials postponed voting in several regions of remote Papua Province in eastern Indonesia, because ballots and other documents failed to arrive in time. And some incidents were reported in western-most Aceh, where the government is battling a long-standing rebellion.
Despite these setbacks, officials in Jakarta expressed satisfaction over the balloting in which millions of Indonesians voted at more than one-half-million polling centers across the country.
The head of observers from the European Union, Glyn Ford, says his delegation had registered no significant complaints at that point. But he underscored that the group would only issue an official assessment after receiving reports from all its observers.
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We clearly need the responses from our observers that are covering all of the provinces of the country. As far as I know we have no complaints yet in Jakarta, but what is happening outside, we do not know at this stage.
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/// OPT /// U-S Ambassador Ralph Boyce also observed the voting in the central part of the capital and expressed support.
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The beautiful things about this is that as the process plays out, as it no doubt will, in a free, fair and peaceful way, then everyone is a winner and certainly the outcome of the process is one that everyone will be able to work with.
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Voters turned out early and in large numbers to chose representatives to parliament, a new assembly of provincial delegates, and regional and local assemblies. Civic groups were concerned that the process was too complicated and that voters did not receive enough education.
/// OPT /// In central Jakarta, homemaker Juju went to the polls with her friends and children. She said voting was more complicated this time.
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Ms. Juju said there were four ballots and you had to punch the picture of the candidate - and the party - on each one. But she says she had fun. She voted for peace, security, and lower prices for poor people like herself.
Ruhmina, a housewife, says she went last week to a briefing on how to vote, so she understood the procedures. But she says she did not recognize the candidates's pictures on the ballot.
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Ms. Ruhmina wants the new government to put a halt to corruption and take better care of the poor.
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Public-opinion polls taken on the eve of the vote show that dissatisfaction with the current government caused President Megawati Sukarnoputri's party to fall behind the Golkar party, which dominated politics during the dictatorship of former President Suharto. But they also showed that half the voters were undecided.
After the results are announced, a political scramble is expected as parties try to build coalitions ahead of presidential elections due in three months. (SIGNED)
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