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MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Oct. 5) – Australian Prime Minister John Howard has congratulated Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on his election as Indonesian President.

Election officials in Jalarta yesterday confirmed that former army General Yudhoyono had overwhelming defeated Megawati Sukarnoputri to become Indonesia's first directly elected President.

In a statement, Mr Howard says he joins with all Australians in wishing Mr Yudhoyono a successful and productive term of office.

Mr Howard says he's looking forward to working closely with the new President to deepen the bilateral relationship.

The Prime Minister also thanked the outgoing President Megawati Sukarnoputri.

He says their relationship has been especially close because of the joint struggle against terrorism.

While the result of the election had been known since the night of the poll, two weeks ago, incumbent President Megawati failed to make any concession of defeat. That left it to the election commission to today officially declare the scale of the landslide to Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who won over 60 percent of the nearly 117 million votes cast.

The former Suharto-era general and one time security minister in the Megawati administration will be inaugurated on the 20th of this month and will announce his cabinet at the same time.

Yudhoyono expected to deliver a victory speech in the coming hours - an event delayed till now by Megawati's virtual denial of defeat.

October 5, 2004

Radio Australia:


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