Subject: Voters reject terror of Timor - Eurico

The Age

Voters reject terror of Timor

* Tom Allard, Jakarta

* May 12, 2009

EURICO Guterres, the pro-integration militia leader who terrorised East Timor as it voted for independence, has failed to win a seat in Indonesia's Parliament.

Mr Guterres' failure to get the lucrative sinecure as West Timor's representative was confirmed at the weekend with the release of the final results of April's legislative elections.

"Because he is a famous figure, it was hard for him," said a member of Mr Guterres' campaign team, Hukman Reny, comparing him to Brazilian soccer player Ronaldinho.

"Just like Ronaldinho, whenever he plays, all the backs try to stop him scoring," he said.

With his long hair, beret and incendiary speeches, Mr Guterres was the anti-independence movement's figurehead and was accused of leading murderous rampages during East Timor's blood-soaked transition to nationhood.

Mr Guterres was found guilty by Indonesia's courts of crimes against humanity, but then later acquitted. He has been pursuing a parliamentary seat ever since.

The final tally of the vote for the national parliament confirmed that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's Democrat Party almost tripled its vote and secured the largest share of seats.

It also highlighted the chaotic organisation of a poll where millions of eligible voters were left off rolls, the wrong ballot papers were sent to districts and many had a poor understanding of how to cast their votes properly.

Almost 50 million Indonesians were either unable to vote or failed to turn up, while another 17.5 million voted incorrectly. At almost 40 per cent of registered voters, this so-called "golput" vote was easily the highest in Indonesia's decade of democracy.

Indonesia will vote for its president in July. The deadline for candidates to nominate expires on Saturday.

In the latest development, President Yudhoyono has made overtures to his long-time rival Megawati Soekarnoputri to support his presidential bid. Two weeks ago, Ms Soekarnoputri launched a "grand coalition" opposing the incumbent.

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