Monitor: The world press examines the elections in Indonesia

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FOR THE sake of this country's future, Indonesians should vote for genuine change. The greatest tragedy that could befall the nation today is to return the status quo forces to office. Then, it will be on our conscience that we have betrayed the reform movement - and betrayed those who gave their lives for the movement - for failing to make meaningful changes in this country when the rare opportunity presents itself.

Jakarta Post, Indonesia

REFORM STILL has a long way to go in Indonesia. There are obvious challenges. Many Indonesians who clawed their way out of poverty over the past 30 years have rejoiced at the dispersal of the old regime and the promise of a new, more democratic Indonesia. But on the heels of the country's economic collapse they find themselves without enough to eat. The birth of a democracy is a tentative process. But democracy has proved remarkably resilient in recent days. Indonesia has emerged from this election campaign, if not unscathed, then with cause for optimism.

The Age, Australia

INDONESIANS ARE free to vote for any party they want, but that choice should be based on what unites them as Indonesians with non-Muslims, not what separates them. On that basis, democracy can enable Indonesians to win together no matter how votes distribute power among the electoral contenders. At this crossroads of history, it must not fail. Indonesia votes for the shape its tomorrows will take. It did so in previous elections, too, but this time, after a very long time, the choice is real.

The Straits Times, Singapore

SOME 127 million eligible voters have been given the opportunity to have a part in charting the direction Indonesia should take as it moves into the next millennium. While voters choose from the participating 48 political parties, one can't help but wonder what determines their choice. Will it be purely to reject the status quo, meaning Golkar and other parties deemed as non-reformist, or those they feel are capable to realise the reforms from mere words and promises?

The Star, Malaysia