Pastika Formally Announced as Winner

pastika.jpgDENPASAR ~ A former police chief who led investigations into the 2002 Bali bombings has stormed to victory in Bali’s first direct election for governor, officials said on Wednesday.

I Made Mangku Pastika romped home with 55 percent of the vote ahead of two rival teams in polls held last week, regional election commission chief AA Oka Winsumurti said.

Pastika gained international plaudits for his work in the wake of terror attacks in 2002 and 2005 that killed over 200, helping lead a crackdown that arrested Islamic militants from the radical Jemaah Islamiyah network.

Foreign tourists, particularly Australians, accounted for most of the victims in the attacks, which crippled the local tourism industry and cut off the island’s main source of income.

The election result is further evidence of the strength of former president Megawati Sukarnoputri’s People’s Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), which backed Pastika, ahead of national elections in April.

Bali is a stronghold for the party, with Megawati tracing roots to the island through her father, Indonesia’s charismatic founding president Sukarno.

Bali’s first direct gubernatorial election comes as part of rolling reforms introduced after the 1998 fall of president Suharto aimed at bringing more democracy and wealth to regions previously ruled from Jakarta.

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