Wednesday, Apr 24

Polls close in Indonesia elections

More than 192 million Indonesians flocked to the polls Wednesday to vote in the nation’s first simultaneous presidential and legislative elections.
17.04.2019 - 11:51

Polls closed in Indonesia on Wednesday in elections for president and parliament after a campaign across the sprawling equatorial archipelago that was dominated by economic issues but also marked by the growing influence of conservative Islam.

QUICK COUNTS WILL BE RELEASED IN TWO HOURS

The eight-hour vote across a country that stretches more than 5,000 km (3,000 miles) from its western to eastern tips was both a Herculean logistical feat and testimony to the resilience of democracy two decades after authoritarianism was defeated.

President Joko Widodo, a furniture businessman who entered politics 14 years ago as a small-city mayor, is seeking re-election against former general Prabowo Subianto, whom he narrowly defeated in the last election, in 2014.

Most opinion polls give Widodo a double-digit lead, but the opposition says the race is much closer and Prabowo, dressed in a white shirt and a traditional peci cap, said before voting in the city of Bogor he was optimistic about winning.

“I feel relieved,” said Widodo, after casting his ballot and displaying a finger dipped in indelible ink, part of the process of avoiding fraudulent voting. Polling stations opened at 7 a.m. (2200 GMT on Tuesday) in the east and closed at 1 p.m. (0600 GMT) in the west.

Unofficial “quick counts”, based on samples from polling stations, will be released two hours after voting ends. The winning presidential candidate could be known by late on Wednesday, though official results will not come until May. Any disputes can be taken to the Constitutional Court where a nine-judge panel will have 14 days to rule on them.