x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Indonesia's Yudhoyono wins second term

After a chequered history, the election cements the world's most populous Muslim country's transition to democracy.

BOGOR, INDONESIA // Indonesia's voters handed President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono a second five-year term today, placing their faith in his firm but unassuming hand on the economic tiller and his promises of further reform. Officials results from the election will not be announced until later this month, but "quick count" results - which have proved extremely reliable in the past - showed Mr Yudhoyono had won enough votes to avoid a second runoff with his nearest rival.

Not known for jumping to a conclusion, Mr Yudhoyono declared his own resounding victory as the results rolled in from across the archipelago of 226 million people. "The quick counts show our success, thanks be to God," the 59-year-old former army general said as jubilant supporters flocked to his home in Bogor, Java island, to congratulate him. With virtually all of the LSI polling agency's sample of votes counted, Yudhoyono's tally stood at a commanding 60.82 per cent. Other agencies put his score slightly lower, but all showed he was comfortably above the halfway mark needed to avoid a second round.

The election, only the second direct vote for a president in Indonesia, cements the country's transition to democracy after a chequered history. It is also likely to usher in an acceleration of reforms in South East Asia's biggest economy which could lure foreign investment, create jobs and shore up flagging growth in the world's most-populous Muslim nation. *Reuters