The shape of the world a generation from now will be influenced far more by how we communicate the values of our society to others than by military or diplomatic superiority. William Fulbright, 1964

Thursday, April 10, 2014


I'm always mindful of an Australian diplomat announcing the end of terrorism just before the Marriott bomb, but nonetheless the Indonesian election has so far gone splendidly.
No-one heeded the call of the jailed loathsome preacher Abu Bakar Bashir to bomb polling stations
In our booth there was great good humour though the ballot papers were of Senate length and complexity.  Everything was conducted simply and efficiently - the AEC should come here and study the system.  Maybe Indonesia can find an aid programme.
TV coverage has also been spectacular with imaginative graphics (the best on Kompas TV being parties depicted as shhips in a race) and robust debate laced with lots of laughs.  So far former general Prabowo's Gerindra party has been trailing Golkar.  Most commentators agree that the PDI-P vote fell far short of forecasts and the party will have to form a coalition.  With whom?  That's the question. This could be the way for the old guard to maintain control.
 It's three month before the direct presidential election.
Inevitably there have been issues.  A neighbour's maid claimed she'd been offered (and accepted) Rp 50,000 to vote for PDI-P by supporters away from the polling station, an allegation impossible to prove when names aren't available.  Nor are statutory declarations.
There's still a month to go before the final figures are out and plenty can happen.  But unless a major problem is disclosed or a fanatic lights a fuse, this has to be a triumph for Indonesian democracy. 

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