Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Election Day

As an astute observer of politics, it's exciting for me to be here on Election Day.  Indonesians go to the polls today in the second presidential election since the fall of Suharto's military regime.  The campaign has been civil and peaceful, a welcome development for the world's third-largest democracy.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is widely expected to trounce his opponents and be re-elected to a second term.  Everyone I have spoken to here plans to support Susilo, with one gentleman I spoke to yesterday predicting that Susilo would win 90% of the vote in his village in Lombok.  The people I have spoken with describe Susilo as a smart and capable leader, and CNN this morning tells me that the economy is doing well and Indonesians are happy to see him combating corruption. 

Of course there's really only so much you can understand as a visitor but it is fascinating to me to see this nonetheless.  They seem genuinely excited to have the opportunity to vote and participate in a peaceful election and it's quite remarkable to see.  

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