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On Wednesday, July 8, the third most populous democracy in the world after India and the US goes to the polls.

It is only the second time Indonesians will vote directly for a president since its transition to democracy after the fall of Suharto.


The economy and corruption top the list of concerns for the average voter, but many observers - both domestically and internationally -point to human rights abuses as another significant problem that needs to be addressed.


Echoes of Indonesia's military past reverberate through this election as well, with ex-generals on each of the three main tickets, including two who were heavily involved in the destruction of neighbouring East Timor.


The current government of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono - or SBY as he is known - has strengthened the economy, made important steps in tackling corruption and presided over the end of a decades-long civil war in Aceh province.

His main rivals include his own current vice president and also the daughter of Indonesia's first dictator, Sukarno. 


Can SBY convince Indonesians that he should be the one to continue the economic progress and reforms he started - or will nationalistic fervor push one of the other two candidates to the front? 


Joining the programme is Sudjadnan Parnohadiningrat, Indonesian's ambassador to the US, Bambang Harymurti, a prominent Indonesian journalist, and Jose Ramos-Horta, the East Timorese president.


This episode of the Riz Khan show aired on Tuesday, July 7, 2009.

Source: Al Jazeera