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Economy, conservative Islam in spotlight as Indonesia goes to the polls

Economy, conservative Islam in spotlight as Indonesia goes to the polls

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JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesians voted on Wednesday to choose a brand new president and parliament after a six-month marketing campaign within the sprawling equatorial archipelago dominated by financial points but additionally marked by the rising affect of conservative Islam.

Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto exhibits his ink-stained finger after casting his vote at a polling sales space throughout elections in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia April 17, 2019. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan

The eight-hour vote throughout a rustic that stretches greater than 5,000 km (three,000 miles) from its western to japanese 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 searching for re-election towards former normal Prabowo Subianto, whom he narrowly defeated within the final election, in 2014.

Most opinion polls give Widodo a double-digit lead, however the opposition says the race is way nearer and Prabowo, wearing a white shirt and a standard Indonesian peci cap, mentioned earlier than voting in Bogor he was optimistic about profitable with a giant margin.

President Widodo, wearing a white shirt and accompanied by First Woman Iriana Widodo, voted within the capital.

“I really feel relieved,” mentioned Widodo, after casting his poll and displaying a finger dipped in indelible ink, a part of the method of avoiding fraudulent voting.

Greater than 10,000 folks have volunteered to crowd-source election outcomes posted at polling stations in a real-time bid to thwart makes an attempt at fraud.

Nevertheless, the opposition has already alleged voter listing irregularities that might have an effect on tens of millions and has vowed authorized or “folks energy” motion if its considerations are ignored.

Widodo’s working mate, Muslim cleric Ma’ruf Amin, referred to as a for a peaceable vote “as a result of the presidential election is just not a battle, however a seek for the most effective chief”, in response to Kompas TV.

There was not a lot apparent safety at polling stations in Jakarta, with volunteers serving to direct folks into voting cubicles.

The election is being billed because the world’s largest single-day vote and is definitely probably the most difficult, with voters contending with 5 paper ballots for president, vp, and nationwide and regional legislative candidates.

Some voters clearly struggled with the method.

“The ballots with the images on it had been really complicated. And the opposite one had plenty of names I didn’t acknowledge,” mentioned Orlando Yudistira, 19, a primary time voter in Jakarta.

One other voter, Siti Suprapti, 85, mentioned she had wanted assist to open the poll “however I selected the candidates myself”.


Dozens of volunteers and witnesses from political events had been current at polling stations to make sure transparency.

A number of movies appeared on-line final week apparently exhibiting 1000’s of voting papers stuffed in baggage at a warehouse in neighboring Malaysia, with many apparently already marked.

The nation’s election supervisory board has advisable a re-vote for Indonesians in Malaysia and in Australia, the place a number of hundred registered voters had been nonetheless standing in line after the polls closed there on Saturday. A choice can be taken by the elections fee.

An surprising win for the challenger may set off a short sell-off in monetary markets which have priced in a Widodo victory, analysts say.

“Ought to Prabowo win, this is able to actually be the tip of opinion polling in Indonesia … and a significant, main upset,” mentioned Marcus Mietzner, affiliate professor at Australian Nationwide College. “The query is what the margin of victory can be,” he mentioned, predicting Widodo’s re-election.

A win for Widodo with 52-55 p.c of the vote can be the “candy spot” mentioned a senior authorities official near the president, including that this is able to spur him to proceed and even speed up financial reforms.


Social media customers in contrast the presidential race to the HBO collection “Recreation of Thrones” – with one on-line meme exhibiting Widodo sitting on its coveted Iron Throne.

Widodo touted his report on deregulation and bettering infrastructure, calling it a primary step to tackling inequality and poverty in Southeast Asia’s largest economic 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 Amin, 76, as his working mate.

Prabowo, a former particular forces commander who has hyperlinks to some hardline Islamist teams, and his working mate, enterprise entrepreneur Sandiaga Uno, say they are going to enhance the economic system by slashing taxes and lower meals costs.

Political analyst Dewi Fortuna Anwar mentioned the “instrumentalisation” of faith had turn into way more seen in Indonesian politics in recent times with each candidates making an attempt to enchantment to conservative Islamic teams.


Greater than 192 million individuals are eligible to forged ballots in nationwide and regional legislative elections being contested by greater than 245,000 candidates.

“Shifting from authoritarianism to democracy is a really tough course of however Indonesia has developed an excellent observe report for holding free, truthful and peaceable elections,” mentioned Ben Bland, an analyst on the Sydney-based Lowy Institute.

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.

Slideshow (17 Photographs)

Unofficial “fast counts”, based mostly on samples from polling stations, can be launched hours after voting ends. The profitable presidential candidate might be recognized by late on Wednesday.

Official outcomes can be introduced in Could. Any disputes may be taken to the Constitutional Courtroom the place a nine-judge panel may have 14 days to rule on them.

(Graphic: President Joko Widodo’s achievements – tmsnrt.rs/2CRgHYC)

Further reporting by Maikel Jefriando, Agustinus Beo Da Costa, Tabita Diela, Kanupriya Kapoor, Cindy Silviana in Jakarta, Tommy Ardiansyah in Bogor; Writing by John Chalmers and Ed Davies; Modifying by Michael Perry

Our Requirements:The Thomson Reuters Belief Rules.

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