Indonesia's opposition candidate alleges cheating ahead of polls

Indonesia votes for new president parliament in world`s biggest single-day election

Indonesia votes for new president parliament in world`s biggest single-day election

Indonesians have decisively re-elected Joko Widodo as president, according to exit polls, after he embraced conservative Islam in his effort to win a second term.

With 50% to 80% of sample polling stations counted, the survey organizations showed Widodo winning about 55% of the vote. While election authorities must confirm any final outcome over the next few weeks, results from private companies have proven accurate in past elections.

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.

An Indonesian man casts his ballot at a polling center during the presidential and legislative election in Jakarta on April 17, 2019. He didn't declare victory, saying he would wait for official results. Prabowo ran a more nationalist campaign, with promises to tackle economic inequality and review Chinese investments.

The market responded positively to the early count, with one-month non-deliverable forwards for dollar-rupiah falling as much as 0.8%, the biggest decline in a month, to 14,055 as of 3:17pm in Jakarta. In the bitterly divisive election of 2014, Jokowi defeated Prabowo by 6 percentage points. He said his campaign's own exit poll had shown him ahead.

Widodo looked set to beat ex-general Prabowo Subianto, whom he narrowly defeated once before in 2014. "But, we don't want to be cheated any more. The Indonesian people won't be cheated anymore".

Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto shows his ink-stained finger after casting his vote at a polling booth during elections in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia April 17, 2019. Jokowi had the support of 10 parties that together account for about 60% of the strength of the outgoing parliament.

And while Widodo is a more progressive Muslim as he listens to heavy metal music, Subianto, 67, of the Great Indonesia Movement Party, has been courting the hard-line Islamist vote, having promised to return from self-imposed exile Islamic Defenders Front chief Rizieq Shihab, a group that is known for attacking Jakarta nightclubs and bars while calling for the implementation of Sharia law.

A series of so-called "quick counts" are expected to give a reliable indication of the presidential victor later Wednesday.

The vote officially ended at 1:00 pm (0600 GMT) in Sumatra, although some of the 800,000 polling stations across the volcano-dotted nation remained open late due to delays and long queues. Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago of 17,000 islands, has three time zones. In Jakarta, armored vehicles were parked in front of shopping malls, while tens of thousands of security forces had been deployed around the capital.

In previous elections, the counts from reputable companies proved to be accurate. The election in the two affected districts was postponed until Thursday.

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%.

"There's clearly less enthusiasm for Widodo now", said Kevin O'Rourke, an Indonesia-based political risk analyst. "Jokowi has sought to co-opt a number of Islamic conservatives", Connolly said, noting his choice of Amin was created to "make a number of Muslims who might feel uncomfortable voting for Jokowi feel a little more comfortable voting for him".

Conservative opponents had tried to discredit Widodo, a furniture exporter whose political career started as a small city mayor, as insufficiently Islamic.

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