One-sided elections are generally not good for democracies. In Indonesia's case, though, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's apparent landslide win of a second term is positive for his country and the region. Not since independence in 1945 has a sitting leader been re-elected in a fair and convincing manner. Should the final tally in about two weeks remain true to the unofficial results, a significant step will have been made towards strengthening the institutions of good governance. With less than one-sixth of the ballots counted yesterday, Dr Susilo and his vice-presidential running mate Boediono had won more than 60 per cent of the vote. This was more than double the count for opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri and almost seven times that for outgoing Vice-President Jusuf Kalla. The president has not declared victory, saying he will wait until the count is finished. It nonetheless seems certain that there will not be a second round, meaning he will have more time and leverage to select capable ministers for his next government. A properly functioning democracy needs a sturdy opposition. In the decade since the downfall of dictator Suharto, Indonesia has proven with each election that its democratic system is healthy and growing stronger. Dr Susilo has to do his utmost to ensure that this continues. He has to guarantee that his cabinet reflects his country's ethnic, political and social diversity. Opposition voices must be heard, not muted or ignored. Dr Susilo was widely expected to win the election. His decisive victory, if confirmed, will significantly boost his reform agenda, which is centred on the civil service, judiciary and police. Tackling rampant corruption remains his biggest challenge. He has made reasonable progress during his five-year term, but caution and politics have at times got in the way of taking tougher action. There could be no better outcome for Indonesia than Dr Susilo securing a decisive win. By having a free hand to choose a government grounded in skilled technocrats rather than enforced political appointees, the economic and social reforms can proceed apace. Dr Boediono, a highly-experienced economist with many years in government, would be well placed as vice-president to support and oversee the programmes. These are safe hands in which to entrust the country's continued stable direction and development. Democracy is progressing more soundly in Indonesia than in its Southeast Asian neighbours. Indonesians appear to overwhelmingly want Dr Susilo to manage their affairs for another five years. That strong mandate to rule has to be taken up with the interests of the nation at heart. This means governing with a firm, but fair, hand.