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Democracy in Action

Bali's Local Elections Go Off Without a Hitch in First Chance to Vote for Local Leaders.

(6/27/2005) The direct democratic election of local government chiefs took place in Bali on Friday, June 24, 2005, without incident.

Representing the first time that the Balinese – together with the rest of Indonesia – were allowed to vote for municipal their mayors and regents, the election day was declared an official holiday in order to facilitate the polling process.

At stake were the mayor and vice-mayor's position in Bali's capital city of Denpasar and the regents and vice-regent posts (bupati and wakil-bupati) for the regencies of Badung, Tabanan, Bangli and Karangasem.

While vote counting will continue for some time with final results expected within 7 days after the poll, preliminary tallies indicate a strong turn out following a spirited peroid of campaigning that included public rallies, poster and billboard proliferation, together with newspaper and television advertisements. In all, an estimated 1.3 million Bali residents cast there votes at 4,797 polling places.

Prleiminary Results

Preliminary vote counts as reported by the Bali Post on Sunday, June 26, 2005:

Denpasar Mayorial Race - With 212,114 votes counted A.A. Puspayoga-I.B. Dharmawijaya are heading towards a landslide securing 69.33% of the vote over the two sets of opponents, A.A. Widiana-A.A. Sumawidana (25.39%) and I Made Sudarma-I.B, Kiana (5.28%).

Kabupaten Badung - Bali’s most prosperous regency of Badung’s race for Bupati has A.A.G. Agung-Ketut Sudikerta leading (54.15%) over their opponents the duo of Made Sumer-I.G.M. Oka (45.38%) who received an official endorsement from the Bali Tourism Board.

Kabupaten Tabanan - Bali's rice bowl and agricultural district sees the pairing of Adi Wiryatama-Putra Wirasana (66.20%) set to trounce their opponents Putu Wijaya-I Ketut Suprapta (33.80%).

Kabupaten Bangli - The cool and hilly regency of Bangli lived up to its geographical promise delivering a landslide in favor of the pairing I Nengah Arnawa-I Made Gianyar (70%) over Gunawan-Wirata (30%).

Kabupaten Karangasem - Bali’s northwest's four-way race's pecking order subject to a final vote count with the lead currently held by Wayan Geredeg-IG Lanang Rai (36.9%), followed by I.G Sumantara-I Nyoman Jelantik (29.97%), Suryanatasari-Widjera (20.47%) and Arya Mataram-Agung (12.66%).

The Head of Bali's Election commission said that, as a matter of course, the entire election process would be reviewed in the wake of the elections, including any reviews and protests from the various political parties. Of particular concern in that evaluation, according to the Election Official, was the high number of blank or spoiled ballots in some districts.

Meanwhile, a local religious leader in Bali urged the candidates not to "soil" the democratic results of the election with any personal ambitions, saying, "the ability to honor the people's voice reflects the maturity of a politician."