JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesians started voting on the planet’s biggest single-day election on Wednesday as polling stations opened throughout the sprawling equatorial archipelago following a six-month marketing campaign to decide on a brand new president and parliament.
A safety personnel checks poll containers earlier than polls open throughout elections in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia April 17, 2019. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan
The eight-hour vote throughout a rustic that stretches greater than 5,00zero km (three,00zero miles) from its western to jap ideas is each a Herculean logistical feat and testimony to the resilience of democracy twenty years after authoritarianism was defeated.
President Joko Widodo, a furnishings businessman who entered politics 14 years in the past as a small-city mayor, is in search of re-election in opposition to former common Prabowo Subianto, whom he narrowly defeated within the final election, in 2014.
The financial system dominated the hard-fought marketing campaign, although the rise of political Islam loomed over the competition on the planet’s most populous Muslim-majority nation.
Most opinion polls give Widodo a double-digit lead, however the opposition says the race is way nearer and Prabowo instructed a information convention late on Tuesday that he anticipated to win with 63 % of the vote.
(President Joko Widodo’s achievements: tmsnrt.rs/2CRgHYC)
Voting started first within the far-flung jap province of Papua, which is 2 hours forward of Jakarta, the capital.
Ballot papers have been delivered with safety escorts to distant areas of the nation by aircraft, speedboat, canoe and horseback. Two speedboats have been deployed as cell polling stations for residents on the Thousand Islands chain north of Jakarta.
A twister in East Java late on Tuesday destroyed two village polling stations and lower energy to 2 others, forcing the authorities to maneuver voting to safer areas, the home information company Antara reported.
More than 10,00zero individuals have volunteered to crowd-source election outcomes posted at polling stations in a real-time bid to thwart makes an attempt at fraud.
However, the opposition has already alleged voter record irregularities that would have an effect on thousands and thousands and has vowed authorized or “people power” motion if its issues are ignored.
Several movies appeared on-line final week apparently exhibiting hundreds of voting papers stuffed in baggage at a warehouse in neighbouring Malaysia, with many apparently already marked.
The nation’s election supervisory board has beneficial a re-vote for Indonesians in Malaysia and in Australia, the place a number of hundred registered voters have been nonetheless standing in line after the polls closed there on Saturday. A call shall be taken by the elections fee.
“Even though there have been obstacles and anomalies, I believe, at the end of it, we cannot contain the will of the people,” Prabowo mentioned on the eve of the vote.
An surprising win for the challenger might set off a quick sell-off in monetary markets which have priced in a Widodo victory, analysts say.
“Should Prabowo win, this would literally be the end of opinion polling in Indonesia … and a major, major upset,” mentioned Marcus Mietzner, affiliate professor at Australian National University. “The question is what the margin of victory will be,” he mentioned, predicting Widodo’s re-election.
A win for Widodo with 52-55 % of the vote can be the “sweet spot” mentioned a senior authorities official near the president, including that this might spur him to proceed and even speed up financial reforms.
‘GAME OF THRONES’
Poll-related hashtags trended on Twitter in Indonesia throughout a three-day quiet interval within the run-up to voting day.
Social media customers in contrast the presidential race to the HBO sequence “Game of Thrones” – with one on-line meme exhibiting Widodo sitting on its coveted Iron Throne.
Widodo touted his document on deregulation and bettering infrastructure, calling it a primary step to tackling inequality and poverty in Southeast Asia’s biggest financial system.
A reasonable Muslim from central Java, Widodo needed to burnish his Islamic credentials after smear campaigns and hoax tales accused him of being anti-Islam, a communist or too near China, all politically damaging in Indonesia. He picked Islamic cleric Ma’ruf Amin, 76, as his operating mate.
Prabowo, a former particular forces commander who has hyperlinks to some hardline Islamist teams, and his operating mate, enterprise entrepreneur Sandiaga Uno, say they’ll increase the financial system by slashing taxes and specializing in infrastructure.
Nearly 350,00zero police and troopers will be a part of 1.6 million paramilitary officers stationed throughout the nation of 17,00zero islands to safeguard the vote.
More than 192 million individuals are eligible to solid ballots in nationwide and regional legislative elections being contested by greater than 245,00zero candidates.
Polling stations opened at 7 a.m. (2200 GMT on Tuesday) within the east and can shut at 1 p.m. (0600 GMT) within the west.
Voters can have 5 paper ballots for president, vice president, and nationwide and regional legislative candidates.
Unofficial “quick counts”, based mostly on samples from polling stations, shall be launched hours after voting ends. The profitable presidential candidate may very well be recognized by late on Wednesday.
Official outcomes shall be introduced in May. Any disputes will be taken to the Constitutional Court the place a nine-judge panel can have 14 days to rule on them.
Additional reporting by Kanupriya Kapoor and Tabita Diela; Writing by John Chalmers and Ed Davies; Editing by Michael Perry