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indonesia, indonesia elections, Joko Widodo, Indonesia president, elections in Indonesia, Indonesian elections 2019, 2019 Indonesia elections, Joko Widodo Indonesia, Prabowo Subianto, Prabowo Subianto Indonesia, muslims, muslim majority nation, indonesian economy, Indonesia news, world news, latest news, Indian Express news
Former general Prabowo Subianto who was defeated in the last election in 2014 is contesting against Indonesia’s incumbent President Joko Widodo. (File)

In what is being billed as the world’s biggest single-day election, Indonesians began voting on Wednesday to choose a new president and Parliament. Polling stations opened today across the equatorial archipelago following an election campaign which lasted for six months.

Former general Prabowo Subianto, who was defeated in the last election in 2014, is contesting against Indonesia’s incumbent President Joko Widodo, who entered politics nearly 14 years ago as a small-city mayor.

Prabowo had told a news conference late Tuesday that he expected to win with 63 per cent vote. “Even though there have been obstacles and anomalies, I believe, at the end of it, we cannot contain the will of the people,” Prabowo said on the eve of the vote.

The election is being viewed a testimony to the resilience of democracy after it defeated authoritarianism, nearly after two decades. Voting first began in the eastern province of Papua, which is two hours ahead of country capital, Jakarta. Nearly 350,000 police and soldiers will join 1.6 million paramilitary officers stationed across the country of 17,000 islands to safeguard the vote today.

More than 192 million people are eligible to case their vote in the national and regional legislative elections which is being contested by more than 2,45,000 candidates. A tornado in East Java on late Tuesday wrecked two polling stations, however, restoration works were undertaken.

While the economy was the main focus of the six-month campaign, but the rise of political Islam also equally dominated the contest in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country. Opinion polls give Widodo a double-digit lead, but the opposition still claims that the race is much closer. A senior government official said that a 52-55 per cent win would be a ‘sweet spot’ for Widodo who could accelerate economic reforms in the country.

Official results are expected to be announced in May, however, unofficial “quick counts” based on samples from polling stations, would be released soon after polling ends.



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