Indonesia will hold its first-ever direct presidential elections in July 2004. Noting that Indonesia is "a thriving democracy where public opinion matters," a partner in the Jakarta-based PR firm Maverick writes in today's Jakarta Post that "the more forward-thinking" candidates "have already appointed their image gurus." Not every candidate will clean up well, though. General Wiranto, who is waging a well-financed and politically well-regarded campaign, stands accused of crimes against humanity by the United Nations. The charges stem from Indonesian military and militia violence in East Timor in 1999, when people in that country voted for independence from Indonesia in an UN-organized referendum.
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