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Calm in North Maluku shows positive sign

BRUSSELS, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- Despite a few clashes, the dispute over a provincial election in Indonesia was largely free of violence, a report from the International Crisis Group says.

The report, released Thursday by the Belgium-based independent non-governmental organization, says the yearlong dispute over an election in Indonesia's North Maluku province proved "anticlimactic" and demonstrated that democratic institutions are functioning properly in Indonesia, Crisis Group reported.

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The report, titled "Local Election Disputes in Indonesia: The Case of North Maluku," says the feared election violence in North Maluku, site of a volatile conflict in 1999-2000, never materialized.

"If Indonesia's democracy had been less robust, the North Maluku dispute could have been disastrous," said Sidney Jones, Crisis Group senior adviser. "Instead, it shows that Indonesia's political system can cope with a few failures and even learn from the experience."

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