Some 38 days after Indonesians voted in the country's first free election in a generation, the final tabulation has confirmed what political analysts and others here long predicted: The party of opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri has come in first in the crowded field, with the once-dominant Golkar party in second place.
The completion of the count was delayed by cumbersome methods that allowed small parties to hold the entire system hostage. The final results allow Indonesia's evolving democracy to shift to the complex process of forming a national assembly and choosing Indonesia's next president.
The results, compiled from all 27 Indonesian provinces, show Megawati's Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, or PDI-P, winning 34 percent of the vote, and Golkar garnering 22 percent. Megawati's party won some 35 million votes, with about 23 million for Golkar. About 14 percent of the 122 million votes cast were considered invalid.
The election was for 468 seats in a 500-member parliament, the core of an expanded assembly whose main job is to choose Indonesia's next president. Final allocations of parliamentary seats still cannot be determined, but the seat count is likely to be closer than the election results because the system is weighted to give more seats to Indonesia's outer islands, where Golkar ran stronger.
While this was not a direct election for president, the two major parties--PDI-P and Golkar--were largely identified with their respective leaders, Megawati and President B.J. Habibie.
Megawati offered a clean break from the corrupt and discredited past while Habibie relied on the advantages of incumbency and his links to Islamic organizations.
The results were compiled tonight by the Indonesian National Elections Committee, but must be validated by all 48 parties that contested the June 7 vote, and then confirmed by the General Elections Commission next week.
The results did not appear to change the political dynamic, but were likely to add new momentum to the bargaining that until now had been taking place largely behind the scenes.
With her party firmly in the lead, Megawati is considered in the best position to be elected president when the larger, 700-member electoral college convenes this year.
Although her party's 34 percent showing leaves her far short of a majority--and even that may be further diluted when the larger assembly, with its appointed members, is formed--by placing first in a democratic election she can claim a popularity that no other contender can match.
CAPTION: Results show Megawati Sukarnoputri's party far short of a majority.