Slow Poll

On June 7, Indonesia held its first free elections in 44 years. At first, the parliamentary vote was heralded as a triumph for democracy, but the "painfully slow ballot-counting process dampened, if not entirely killed, the enthusiasm people showed [on election day]," writes the independent Jakarta Post.

As we go to press, opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri's Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) has a comfortable lead, with the ruling Golkar Party in second place. "While that outcome will give Megawati the moral authority to assume the presidency at October's People's Consultative Assembly," writes Hong Kong's centrist newsmagazine Far Eastern Economic Review, "everything depends on whether (PDI-P) can build a coalition to make that happen." And while his chances of remaining president look slim, B. J. Habibie still remains a "significant factor."