Friday, April 30, 2004

Sekarang Makin Banyak Fenomena "Media-lomania"

Bandung, Kompas - Kesenjangan antara realitas politik di media cetak dan elektronik dengan kenyataan politik sesungguhnya, belakangan ini makin banyak dimanfaatkan oleh penderita "media-lomania". Penderita penyakit pascakekuasaan itu dengan cerdas mengemas berbagai peristiwa sehingga ia bisa muncul di berbagai media.

Demikian dituturkan anggota Komisi Penyiaran Indonesia (KPI), Bimo Nugroho, seusai acara diskusi panel bertema "Media Politik atau Politik Media" yang diprakarsai Keluarga Mahasiswa Jurnalistik (KMJ) Fakultas Ilmu Komunikasi Universitas Islam Bandung, Kamis (29/4). Hadir pula panelis Direktur Utama Radio Mora Bandung Monang Saragih, wartawan majalah Pantau Andreas Harsono, dan wartawan Koran Tempo Dian R Basuki.

"Saya melihat, belakangan ini semakin banyak penderita ’media-lomania’ yang tampil di berbagai media. Itu wajar karena saat ini media semakin bebas. Lagi pula, kini realitas politik media terpisah dengan realitas politik yang sesungguhnya," ujar Bimo.

Penderita penyakit "doyan" jadi narasumber itu, menurut Bimo, mudah terlihat pada politisi atau aktivis gerakan mahasiswa yang sudah lewat masanya dan ingin tetap berada di kancah politik. Kepandaian "media-lomania" membangun relasi dengan media dan membungkus peristiwa hingga sesuai selera wartawan, dinilainya akan semakin mengurangi pilihan.

"Dampak negatifnya tentu membuat media tidak punya banyak pilihan dan wartawan malas mencari narasumber di lapangan. Belum lagi, biasanya orang yang keranjingan dikutip itu sering memberi fasilitas seperti jumpa pers hingga amplop," ujarnya lagi.

Oleh sebab itu, Bimo menyarankan para praktisi media untuk lebih dulu melakukan riset sebelum terjun ke lapangan. Melalui persiapan, lanjutnya, praktisi media tidak akan terjebak pada kemasan bagus "media-lomania".

Dalam diskusi itu, Andreas menyatakan bahwa wartawan sebaiknya mengambil one way ticket tatkala ingin masuk ke dunia politik. Ketika wartawan terjun ke politik, ia harus mengundurkan diri dari media karena keduanya tak dapat berjalan beriringan.

"Wartawan bukan revolving door (pintu putar) yang bisa bolak-balik dari politik ke media dan sebaliknya. Cara pandang politikus dan wartawan terhadap informasi jelas beda," tegas Andreas. (K12)

Monday, April 19, 2004

Candidato presidencial hace pop


por Andreas Harsono

YAKARTA, jul (IPS) Cuando la gerente ejecutiva del canal televisivo TPI de Indonesia, Artine Utomo, invitó al general Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono a un programa, no imaginó que la personalidad del candidato presidencial le dejaría una huella tan profunda.

"Me impresionó como un hombre de sustancia. Lo llamé por cortesía, para invitarlo a asistir a nuestro concurso de 'dangdut' (música popular), y aceptó", dijo Utomo a IPS.

Yudhoyono fue el candidato más votado en la primera ronda de las elecciones presidenciales del 5 de julio, con 34 por ciento de los sufragios, seguido por la presidenta Megawati Sukarnoputri, que obtuvo 26 por ciento.

Ambos se enfrentarán en la segunda ronda el 20 de septiembre, pues ninguno obtuvo el 50 por ciento exigido por la ley. Los resultados definitivos de la primera se conocerán el 26 de este mes.

El concurso de TPI, uno de los 11 canales televisivos de Yakarta, tiene gran popularidad y atrae a cantantes de dangdut de todo el archipiélago. Los ganadores obtienen importantes premios en efectivo y ofertas atractivas de empresas discográficas.

Cuando Yudhoyono ingresó en el local del concurso con su esposa y sus guardaespaldas, recibió una ovación de pie de cientos de fanáticos del dangdut, que exclamaban "SBY, SBY, SBY", un cántico usual en la campaña electoral que alude a sus iniciales.

"Estaba sorprendido de recibir una bienvenida tan cálida", dijo Utomo, quien acompañó al matrimonio Yudhoyono junto con su jefe, el magnate de los medios de comunicación de Indonesia Hary Tanoesoedibyo.

El género dangdut --"música del pueblo", en indonesio-- ha sido usada con frecuencia como herramienta política de los poderosos. Esta mezcla de ritmos indios, árabes y malayos es hace mucho la banda de sonido de la Indonesia rural.

El dandgut ha sido la música de la clase baja, y se caracterizó originalmente por sus letras subidas de tono y su baile sexualmente sugestivo. Pero sus cultores la endulzaron, librándola de contenidos cuestionables a fines de los años 70 y comienzos de los 80.

El género vive un gran renacimiento, responsabilidad de la popular cantante Inul Daratista. Mientras, clérigos musulmanes ridiculizan su enérgico baile y califican su escueto vestuario de indecente e inmoral.

Ahora, numerosos imitadores de Inul Daratista han tomado al público por asalto y los políticos no demoraron en aprovecharse de la situación. La aparición de los candidatos en los programas televisivos de dangdut es una forma segura de llegar a las masas.

Yudhoyono está en una carrera contra el tiempo para ganar la atención de los votantes antes de la segunda vuelta del 20 de septiembre, y recurrirá a cualquier método conocido para lograrlo. Entre ellos, la música popular.

En la superficie, parece que Yudhoyono tiene visión, un firme liderazgo, una inteligencia firme y una imagen limpia ante la "vacuidad intelectual" y la indecisión de Megawati. Peor en la realidad, las cosas son diferentes, según el columnista Andre Burrell, del diario Australian Financial Review.

"Resulta tentador describir la compulsa de un modo tan simplista, pues Yudhoyono y Megawati tienen más en común de lo que ellos mismos quisieran admitir", sostuvo Burrell.

Megawati concentró su campaña en consolidarse como la líder que estabilizó Indonesia y en destacar el 3,5 por ciento de crecimiento económico alcanzado desde que llegó al poder hace tres años.

Aunque la mandataria no criticó a Yudhoyono abiertamente, algunos de sus asesores colaboró en la campaña estudiantil contra el general retirado, basada sobre la carrera que consolidó en el ejército durante la dictadura del general Alí Suharto.

Aunque Yudhoyouno es considerado "reformista" por la prensa de Occidente, no constituye un desafío al status quo, según John Miller, de la Red de Acción de Timor Oriental.

"Era el subcomandante del ejército indonesio cuando arrasó Timor Oriental. Y su principal virtud es que no fue acusado", dijo Miller. Yudhoyono asistió al centro de estudios militares superiores de Fort Leavenworth, en Kansas, Estados Unidos.

La peor jugada de Yudhoyono fue alinearse con el islámico Partido Luna y Estrella, liderado por Yusril Ihsa Mahendra, para fortalecer sus credenciales religiosas en el país donde se encuentra la mayor comunidad musulmana del mundo.

Yusril, ex redactor de discursos para Suharto, fue ministro de Justicia de Megawati, y fracasó en su principal tarea en el cargo: combatir la corrupción. Por otra parte, el apoyo del dirigente a la aplicación de la ley islámica (shariá) deja a Yudhoyono en una mala posición ante la elite económica del país, mayoritariamente secular.

Luego de alcanzar un acuerdo político con el Partido Luna y Estrella, circularon a través de mensajes de texto por teléfono celular el rumor de que el general adoptaría la shariá si alcanza la presidencia.

Como si no fuera suficiente, circularon otras versiones según las cuales la esposa de Yudhoyono pertenecía a la minoría cristiana. El mismo desacreditó ambos rumores, pero calaron hondo en el electorado.

La política no se trata sólo de sobriedad, sino de carisma personal. Y Yudhoyono loi sabe.

Por eso, no tiene escrúpulos en alcanzar a las masas a través del dangdut.

(FIN/IPS/traen-mj/ah/js/cr ip ae/04)

Friday, April 16, 2004

Indonesia: Ex-General May Run For Presidency

By Andreas Harsono

Jakarta, 16 April 2004 (IPS) -- A retired army general, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, is likely to be President Megawati Sukarnoputri's most serious challenger in Indonesia's presidential election in July, according to opinion polls and the views of political analysts.

The race is heating up such that a poll released Wednesday showed that said 84 percent of Indonesians want a new president ahead of the Jul. 5 vote, which will be Indonesia's first direct presidential election.

The poll says that Yudhoyono, also a former member of Megawati's cabinet, is the popular favourite with about 28 percent of the vote in the poll.

Megawati, who wants another term as president, got 14 percent support in the opinion poll. Akbar Tandjung, chairman of the victorious Golkar Party in the Apr. 5 parliamentary election and also eyeing the presidency, was not even among the top five.

The survey, by the London-based group Taylor Nelson, was conducted among 1,016 voters across Indonesia between Mar. 26 and Apr. 1 and had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

"It's difficult now to stop Yudhoyono. He is going to be the next president if nothing unusual happens between now and July," said Indonesian activist Liem Sioe Liong of the London-based Tapol human rights group.

Many Indonesians are looking for a leader who is seen to be clean and at the same strong. They also want stability and economic growth that has not quite come back since the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

A common public perception is that Yudhoyono is honest, and his military credentials also creates a view among some that he will bring discipline into his administration.

Megawati, daughter of Indonesia's founding father Sukarno, is seen as a weak leader. She has been credited with bringing political and economic stability to Indonesia, since she came to power in 2001 after Abdurrahman Wahid. But critics say she is too aloof and has done little to crack down on graft or improve living standards for the country's poor.

At the same time, "he (Yudhoyono) is a general but he is more a civilian than a hawkish general," Indonesian political observer Bill Liddle of Ohio State University told Radio 68H here.

As of Friday afternoon, with over 89 million out of a possible 147 million votes in April vote counted electronically, Megawati's Indonesian Democratic Party for Struggle (PDIP) got 17.5 million votes. It was trailing behind Tandjung's Golkar Party by more than one million votes.

In the wake of these results, the Megawati camp is now working to control the damage by moving to reorganise her campaign strategy ahead of the July poll.

In terms of percentage, PDIP secured 19.67 percent of the tally while Golkar led with 21 percent of votes.In the 1999 election, the PDI-P won 33.7 percent of the vote to win the top spot, with Golkar coming second with 22.5 percent.

The workers of Golkar Party, established by Indonesia's authoritarian President Suharto in the late 1960s, are jubilant. "We are already number one. We are the winners of this election and we will fight for the presidency," Tandjung said Wednesday.

Under Indonesia's revised electoral system, Golkar's lead does not mean that its presidential candidate - to be decided at a convention Monday - has an edge. In the Suharto days, members of parliament would vote for the president, but this time, more than 100 million voters are directly casting ballots for president.

But Golkar's bigger numbers in parliament do give it the privilege to have a candidate in the running for the presidency. Election rules provide that only parties that get more than 5 percent of votes can nominate presidential and vice presidential candidates.

Tandjung himself does not automatically become his party's presidential nominee. Critics said his public image has been badly damaged because of his involvement in a corruption case, although the Supreme Court acquitted him.Megawati has also been busy making a last-minute effort to prepare for the presidential race, setting up the "Mega Centre" where her closest advisors are supposed to draw up a new campaign strategy and to pick a running mate.

This is the same strategy used by her rivals, which include Amien Rais, parliamentary speaker, as well as Yudhoyono. Both have asked a number of intellectuals and party thinkers to spearhead their campaign strategy through a think tank.

But heated arguments marked the weekly meeting of Megawati's party on Tuesday, where everyone blamed everyone else, news reports said. In the end, they could not even agree on the establishment of the Mega Centre.

Kwik Kian Gie, a long-time advisor to Megawati and a cabinet member, left before the meeting was over. In an agitated tone, he told the media that he doubted whether the new team could help to restore the public confidence in his party.

"I know nothing about the Mega Centre, I'm not part of it. But how can you convince Indonesian people to vote for one figure in such a short time?" he asked.

Presidential and vice presidential candidates need not come from the same political party, which is why Indonesian politicians are busy horsetrading to assemble winning combinations.

Yudhoyono's upstart Democrat Party secured 6.6 million votes or 7.5 percent of votes as of Friday. While this gives his party room to nominate him for the presidential race, he would need to build an alliance with one or some other political parties to secure this bid for the country's highest post.

Yudhoyono has not said who his running mate would be, but speculation is rife here that would ask businessman Jusuf Kalla to be his vice presidential candidate.The logic is that Yudhoyono is Javanese, a member of the largest ethnic group in Indonesia, and he needs a non-Javanese running mate to gain votes from the outer islands.

Kalla is a Bugis businessman from southern Sulawesi province. Kalla is a Golkar Party presidential nominee, although he is not seen to be a strong contender to Akbar Tandjung.

Tandjung's closest rival for the Golkar presidential nomination is Wiranto, another retired army general, who has been indicted on human rights abuses in East Timor especially after its 1999 independence vote.If the results of surveys are borne out in the coming months, no single candidate would win more than 50 percent of votes in the July election to become Indonesia's first directly elected president.

This would force a September run-off election between the two candidates who get the most number of votes on Jul. 5.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Accountability, Reward dan Byline

Andreas Harsono

Saya punya satu isu yang mungkin bisa kita diskusikan bersama. Ceritanya, 15 Desember lalu Bill Kovach, salah satu penulis buku "Sembilan Elemen Jurnalisme" dan seorang wartawan terhormat di Amerika, datang ke kantor harian Kompas. Kovach menemui Jakob Oetama dan Suryopratomo, masing-masing pemimpin umum dan pemimpin redaksi Kompas, di ruang kerja Oetama untuk diskusi selama satu jam, lantas Kovach menemui sekelompok wartawan Kompas untuk berdiskusi di sebuah ruang rapat. Ada sekitar 15 wartawan Kompas ikut di sana.

Diskusinya cukup menarik. Saya kebetulan ikut mengantar sehingga bisa mendengarkannya. Kovach sempat bertanya kepada para wartawan Kompas, "Mengapa suratkabar Anda tak memakai byline? Mengapa di halaman satu tak terlihat byline?"

Kalau ingatan saya tidak keliru, Bambang Wisudo, salah satu wartawan yang hadir, mengatakan kalau Kompas menggunakan byline bakal kelihatan kalau tulisan wartawan-wartawannya masih belum bagus. Tak semua wartawan bisa mendapatkan byline. Malu kalau pakai byline.

Kovach balik mengatakan bukankah itu esensi byline? Artinya, biarkan pembaca tahu mana wartawan yang bisa menulis dengan baik dan mana yang tidak baik. Bukankah itu bagian dari "accountability" Kompas?

Jadi kalau Kompas memakai byline, orang bakal tahu siapa orang yang menulis laporan yang baik atau yang buruk. Bukan sebaliknya, menaruh semua tanggungjawab kepenulisan itu kepada institusi Kompas.

Wisudo bilang ini sudah tradisi Kompas. Ia mengatakan tak tahu jawaban pastinya. Wisudo mengatakan seharusnya Kovach tanya kepada "Pak Jakob."

Kovach mengangguk-angguk. Sayang, janji bertemu kedua kalinya dengan Oetama, karena kesibukan masing-masing, tak terlaksana sehingga pertanyaan itu pun tak bisa dilanjutkan Kovach kepada Oetama. Namun Kovach sempat melontarkan isu ini sekali lagi keesokan harinya, ketika ia muncul dalam acara Metro TV bersama Jason Tedjasukmana. Kovach mengatakan suratkabar Indonesia kebanyakan tak memakai byline dan ini menurutnya sebuah kekurangan.

Dalam bahasa Inggris, byline berasal dari kata "by" (oleh) dan "line" (baris) yang merujuk kepada sebuah baris dekat judul cerita dimana terdapat nama orang yang menulis cerita itu. Menurut kamus Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, kata ini masuk ke dalam perbendaharaan bahasa Inggris, artinya terekam pertama kalinya dalam perbendaharaan bahasa Inggris pada 1938.

Kovach mengatakan pada sebuah diskusi lain bahwa byline dipakai pertama kali pada 1850-an oleh Charles S. Taylor, seorang jendral yang lantas jadi "publisher" harian The Boston Globe, sesudah perang saudara Amerika. Taylor sering jengkel karena selama perang ada saja wartawan yang menulis dengan judul, "Berita Penting Jika Terbukti Benar." Ia memutuskan menaruh nama para wartawannya pada berita-berita yang diterbitkan The Boston Globe.

Pemakaian byline ternyata membuat wartawan-wartawan The Boston Globe lebih berhati-hati dengan laporan-laporan mereka. Ketika itu, sama dengan suratkabar-suratkabar Indonesia hari ini, media Amerika tak memakai byline. Mereka hanya menaruh inisial si wartawan di ekor laporan. Namun inovasi Taylor ini perlahan-lahan ditiru oleh suratkabar lain di Amerika Serikat.

Prosesnya tidak cepat. Butuh waktu lama untuk menyakinkan pada redaktur bahwa byline adalah masalah "accountability." Harian The New York Times baru mulai menerapkan byline pada laporan mereka, sebagai isu accountability, pada 1960-an.

Banyak redaktur hanya memberikan byline bila sebuah laporan dianggap punya kualitas bagus. Kalau biasa-biasa saja, tak diberi byline, cukup inisial di ekor karangan --yang sebenarnya menurut sejarah, lebih untuk fungsi administrasi internal.

Byline dianggap sebagai "reward" (hadiah) bukan "accountability" (pertanggungjawaban). Namun pemakaian byline untuk kolom opini lebih cepat diterima karena si suratkabar berpendapat isi opini tak harus mencerminkan opini institusi suratkabar.

Tapi hari ini, kalau Anda membaca The New York Times, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, atau suratkabar apapun di Amerika Serikat, byline sudah jadi praktek biasa. Semua laporan berita diberi nama wartawannya.

Saya kebetulan pernah bekerja untuk harian The West Australian (Perth), The Nation (Bangkok) dan The Star (Kuala Lumpur). Di tiga harian ini byline biasa dipakai. Semua berita, kecuali berita dua kolom yang relatif pendek, diberi byline.

Di Indonesia, kebanyakan suratkabar tak memakai byline. Di Indonesia, accountability wartawan disembunyikan di balik tanggungjawab institusi. Padahal dua hal ini bisa dibedakan. Kalau seorang wartawan diberi byline, maka ia akan lebih bertanggungjawab terhadap isi laporannya karena publik akan tahu siapa wartawan yang bekerja secara relatif konsisten menghasilkan berita-berita yang bermutu. Juga sebaliknya, publik akan tahu wartawan mana yang pernah bikin salah.

Harian The Jakarta Post mungkin termasuk suratkabar pertama di Indonesia yang memakai byline. Menurut Endy Bayuni, wakil pemimpin redaksi The Jakarta Post, kebijakan ini dipakai sejak 1 Oktober 2001 ketika disain harian ini diubah --antara lain memakai warna merah pada logo mereka.

Endy mengatakan pada saya, hasilnya memang wartawan The Jakarta Post dipaksa menulis lebih baik karena kalau ada kesalahan atau ada yang melenceng, nama mereka bisa segera diketahui publik. Namun, hasilnya positif karena wartawan juga bisa membangun reputasi mereka.

Praktek byline juga dipakai majalah. Cuma di majalah, atau juga suratkabar kalau sebuah laporan dikerjakan ramai-ramai, harus dibedakan antara byline dan tagline.

Tagline adalah baris dimana nama para kontributor sebuah laporan diletakkan. Byline untuk penulis laporan. Sedang wartawan-wartawan lain yang memberikan bahan atau kontribusi untuk laporan itu dimasukkan dalam tagline. Ini penting dibedakan karena si penulis sering hanya memakai satu alinea saja dari si kontributor. Dan seringkali si kontributor yang jadi sasaran kekesalan orang kalau laporan mereka dianggap tak memuaskan. Padahal kontributor cuma setor laporan. Kebanyakan majalah Indonesia
menggunakan tagline tapi tanpa byline.

Sekarang mari kita perhatikan. Suratkabar dan majalah apa saja di Indonesia ini yang belum membawa prinsip accountability ke ruang redaksi mereka? Kalau Anda bekerja di media, tidakkah Anda tertarik untuk membawa isu ini ke rapat redaksi? Atau kalau Anda seorang pembaca, tidakkah Anda tertarik untuk bertanya kepada redaktur suratkabar langganan Anda, "Eh kenapa ya kita tak memakai byline?"

pantau-komunitas@yahoogroups.com 11 April 2005

Monday, April 05, 2004

Technical Hitches Aside, Poll Shows Democracy's Gains

Andreas Harsono

Jakarta, Apr 5 (IPS) - Monday's parliamentary election ran into logistical and technical problems like ballots that failed to reach polling places in time, but the conduct of the vote affirms the democratic path Indonesia has been treading since the Suharto regime ended six years ago.

More than 140 million Indonesians went to the voting booths Monday morning, a massive logistical exercise for the world's fourth most populous country with a
wide mix of ethnic communities that speak hundreds of languages.

Monday's election involved more than 5.2 million poll officials working in nearly 600,000 polling stations in the world's largest archipelago.

The vote also marked the start of a complicated - one commentator called it ''mind-boggling'' -- process of voting for different sets of officials across Indonesia. On Monday, voters chose from more than 7,700 candidates, coming from 24 political parties, for the 550-member parliament, apart from tens of thousands of other candidates for regional, provincial and local legislatures.

The election will be a three-step process. A direct poll for president will be held in July, and if no candidate has won more than 50 percent of the vote, which is very likely, a final presidential election will be held in September.

As of Monday evening, reports of logistical hitches flowed in from different parts of the archipelago - but the successful conduct of free and fair elections in Indonesia will bolster its still emerging democracy. The European Union sent its largest-ever electoral monitoring mission composed of more than 230 observers across Indonesia.

In a commentary titled 'Elections are for tomorrow, not for today', analyst Wimar Witoelar said the holding of the vote is success by itself: ''The trouble spots in the world command the major news stories, because of their direct impact on the home countries of the global news services. It is not newsworthy to report the sigh of relief which is spreading throughout the archipelago.''

Some parts of the country were not able to organise the election because the documents were printed incorrectly or were not delivered at all. In such cases, voting would have to be held Tuesday or Wednesday, said Election Commissioner Nasruddin Syamsuddin.

Indonesian media reported that the election was not held in some parts of Central Sulawesi, West Sumatra, Nusa Tenggara Timur in eastern Indonesia. Papua, the resource-rich island in eastern Indonesia, also faced similar problems.

Central Sulawesi Governor Aminuddin Ponulele said around 200,000 or around 10 percent of voters in his province did not get their voting registration documents. Dominggus Mandacan, the regent of Manokwari regency in Papua, was quoted by Antara news agency as saying that 48 of 585 voting booths in his area could not organise the election. ''The organisers simply had not received the voting papers,'' said Mandacan.

Vice President Hamzah Haz called the administration of this election worse than the 1999 one. ''Two of my sons just recently received their voting cards. They are the sons of the vice president. What happened to others?''

In places like Aceh province in northern Sumatra, police said around 50 villages there did not hold the election because they are still under the control of the Free Aceh Movement that seeks independence from Jakarta. It is still not clear how many percent of the approximately 147 million eligible voters were not able to cast their ballots.

But many took seriously Monday's vote - the day was declared a national holiday for the balloting.

''I have been on the street since nine this morning and only at one pm people were seen on the streets again,'' said Karno, a driver of the Express Taxi, adding that he only got three passengers during the four-hour period because people headed for their polling precincts in Jakarta.

The Palmerah traditional market, a bustling bazaar for vegetables, meat, fishes and other food, near the Parliament building, was also half-empty Monday morning.

The national tally of the votes, announced from Hotel Borobudur in downtown Jakarta, showed only insignificant results Monday night of few thousand votes counted. Given the size of Indonesia, it may take nine days or more before national results can be completed.

But analysts and voters are watching out for trends and key political battles in the election.

In East Java, Indonesia's second most populous province, President Megawati Sukarnoputri's Indonesian Democratic Party for Struggle (PDIP) was competing
fiercely with the Nation Awakening Party of former president Abdurrahman Wahid.

Megawati voted in her neighbourhood in the Menteng area in the heart of Jakarta. Surprisingly, vote counting in her elite neighbourhood was in favour of two little-known parties. The first place went to the Democrat Party with 45 votes. The second place went to Peace and Prosperous Party.

Megawati's PDIP secured the third place with 34 votes. The fourth place with 24 cotes went to Golkar Party, which was established by Suharto in the 1960s and whose political fortunes many expect to improve in this election.

Surveys show Megawati's PDIP in a tight race with rival Golkar. While Megawati
is ahead of Golkar's leading candidate Akbar Tandjung, an International Foundation for Election Systems poll of 4,000 respondents that was concluded on Mar. 28 found that Golkar has the most party support, with 22.2 percent. That is almost double the 11.5 percent share of support PDIP received in the poll.

The aging Suharto himself voted in another voting booth in Menteng. Coming out of his house with a walking stick, the 82-year-old Suharto did not respond to reporters' questions, but smiled and waved his hands.

Opinion polls also show Megawati trailing for the first time in the presidential race set for July. She was lagging behind her former chief security minister Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, a respected retired general who leads the Democrat Party and quit the Cabinet in March after a row with Megawati.