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U.S. Urges Indonesia in Election

August 3, 1999

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The United States wants Indonesia to convene its assembly and select the country’s next president as soon as practicable, the State Department said today.

``This will help reduce the impact of continued uncertainty on political stability and enhance the prospects of rapid economic recovery,″ spokesman James P. Rubin said. ``We look forward to working with the government that emerges out of this democratic process.″

He would not say whether he thought some Indonesian parties are deliberately delaying, to prevent opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri from becoming president. Her Indonesian Democratic Struggle Party came in first in June 7 parliamentary elections.

On Tuesday Indonesia President B.J. Habibie bypassed feuding electoral officials and officially declared results of the voting legitimate.

``Clearly there are a lot of different views being expressed, as one would expect where there are so many different parties involved,″ Rubin said. ``But we do want to move expeditiously, taking into account that many of these institutions are functioning for the first time.″

He said the elections represented a significant step toward democratic government after 32 years of authoritarian rule under President Suharto, who resigned in May 1998, and earlier under his predecessor, Sukarno.

``We welcome the enthusiasm of the electorate, and we have encouraged the government to build on the initial gains of the June elections,″ Rubin said.

The new president will be chosen by 462 elected legislators and 238 appointed delegates.

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