Early results put Widodo comfortably ahead in Indonesia's election
17 April, 2019, 20:13 | Author: Wade Massey
A quick count from the survey institute Litbang Kompas, based on a sample of nearly 75% of votes, placed the president, better known by his nickname "Jokowi", and his running mate, the Islamic cleric Ma'ruf Amin, with 54.19% of the vote, and Prabowo and the former investment manager Sandiaga Uno with 45.81%.
Private pollsters data based on a partial count of samples from polling stations showed that Widodo was winning more than half of the vote and his challenger, former general Prabowo Subianto, was more than 10 percentage points behind him.
But Mr Prabowo, who also contested the last election, said his own campaign estimated he had won 52-54 per cent of the vote, and called on supporters not to allow his victory to be snatched away.
More than 190 million voters were asked to choose between the incumbent Widodo, lauded for his infrastructure driven economic push, and his fiery nationalist rival, who has strong ties to the country's three-decade Suharto dictatorship.
Presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto exercised his right to vote today in the Indonesia elections 2019 at the polling station (TPS) 041 located in Bogor, West Java, where he expressed his optimism toward the outcome.
Widodo campaigned on his record of deregulation and improving infrastructure, calling it a step to tackling inequality and poverty in Southeast Asia's biggest economy.
Subianto narrowly lost to Widodo in 2014 elections, and unsuccessfully challenged those results.
Polling booths across the city were decorated in red and white cloth, the colours of the Indonesian flag, as well as flowers and balloons, while some stations adopted fancy dress attire, with people dressing as superheroes and zombies.
"There's clearly less enthusiasm for Widodo now", said Kevin O'Rourke, an Indonesia-based political risk analyst.
Echoing US President Donald Trump, Subianto vowed to put "Indonesia first" by reviewing billions of dollars in Chinese investment.
"Arriving at the polling station early at 08:06 Western Indonesia Time (WIB), the Gerindra Party Chairman said; "[I am] very optimistic.
Subianto - who has moved to soften his image with an Instagram account featuring his cat Bobby - insisted he was poised to pull of an upset victory, alongside running mate Sandiaga Uno, a 49-year-old wealthy financier.
It's been billed as one of the most complicated single-day ballots ever under taken For the first time, Indonesia is holding its presidential and legislative elections on the same day, with more than 245,000 candidates running for over 20,000 seats.
"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.
The country's election supervisory board has recommended a re-vote for Indonesians in Malaysia and in Australia, where several hundred registered voters were still standing in line after the polls closed there on Saturday.
Papua election officials dressed in traditional headgear and grass skirts, as others strap on superhero costumes to entertain voters in other parts of the country.
Voting is underway in presidential and legislative elections in Indonesia, the world's third-biggest democracy, after a campaign that pitted the moderate incumbent against an ultranationalist former general.
Al Jazeera's Wayne Hay reports from Jakarta.
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