192 million voters, 245, 000 candidates: Biggest single-day polls to be held in Indonesia

JAKARTA: Tens of millions of Indonesians will vote in presidential and parliamentary elections on April 17 after campaigns focused on the economy, but with political Islam looming ever larger in the world’s biggest Muslim-majority nation. President Joko Widodo, a former furniture salesman who launched his political career as a small-city mayor, is standing for re-election in a contest with ex-general Prabowo Subianto, whom he narrowly defeated in 2014.
Most opinion polls give Widodo a double-digit lead but the opposition has disputed survey findings. Nearly 500,000 police and military will fan out across the vast archipelago to safeguard the vote. In Jakarta, the capital, officers will guard polling station to deter voter intimidation or clashes, national police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo said.
More than 192 million will also vote in national and regional legislative elections, being contested by more than 245,000 candidates, in what is being described as the world’s biggest single-day election.
Overseas voting is already underway, with thousands lining up outside Indonesian missions in Singapore and Australia.
On Wednesday, polling stations will open at 7am in eastern Indonesia and close at 1 pm on the western side of the country. Voters will manually punch five separate paper ballots for president and vice president, and legislative candidates. Unofficial “quick counts”, based on vote samples from polling stations, will be released hours after polling ends and the winning presidential candidate is expected to be apparent by late Wednesday. The General Election Commission is expected to announce an official result in May. Candidates have 72 hours after the official result to complain to the Constitutional Court. A nine-judge panel has 14 days to reach a decision, which cannot be appealed.
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