President Denies Overseeing Poll Fraud

JAKARTA ~ President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has denied he was responsible for error-riddled voter lists for April 9 legislative elections branded “fraudulent” by rival politicians.

Yudhoyono’s administration has been accused of overseeing fumbled preparations for a nationwide poll marred by reports of legions of voters being left off electoral lists and delays in the distribution of ballots.

“It’s hurtful for us to not have any peculiar motive and then be accused of being fraudulent and playing with the voter lists,” the president told reporters on Tuesday.

A group of political leaders led by former president Megawati Sukarnoputri, who will likely face-off with Yudhoyono in a July presidential vote, last week denounced the election as being marred by “fraud and administrative errors.”

“If there are criminal or administrative violations (in the elections), my position is the same… to settle them,” said Yudhoyono, who is known as SBY.

“Some say they won’t participate in the elections. Others say they will boycott. Their calls are the same as mine. SBY agrees that the matter has to be solved,” he said.

Yudhoyono, the country’s first directly elected president in 2004, is widely seen as the favourite in the July presidential vote after his Democratic Party gained the largest share of votes in the legislature, according to early counts.

The Democratic Party earned 20.48 percent while Megawati’s Democratic Party of Struggle gained an estimated 14.33 percent and outgoing coalition partner Golkar earned 13.95 percent, according to one unofficial count.

Yudhoyono said he hoped for a “healthy and fair competition” in the July vote.

“Let’s show the people we are ready to compete and let’s compete in a good way, respect one another and preserve good values in this democracy,” he said.

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