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Polling Stations Close in Indonesia

JAKARTA – The presidential and parliamentary elections closed Wednesday in Indonesia after a campaign in the vast equatorial archipelago dominated by economic issues, Reuters reported Wednesday.
The eight-hour vote on a country stretching more than 5,000 km between its western and eastern extremes was both a Herculean logistical feat and a testament to the resistance of democracy two decades after the defeat of authoritarianism.
President Joko Widodo, a furniture businessman who entered politics 14 years ago as mayor of a small town, wants to be re-elected against former general Prabowo Subianto, whom he narrowly defeated in the last elections in 2014.
Most polls give Widodo a double-digit lead, but the opposition says the race is much tighter and Prabowo, wearing a white shirt and a traditional peci hat said before voting in Bogor, that he was optimistic about his victory.
Widodo, wearing a white shirt and accompanied by the First Lady Iriana Widodo, voted in the capital.
“I feel relieved,” said Widodo, after filing his ballot and displaying a finger dipped in indelible ink, to avoid a fraudulent vote.
Polling stations opened at 7:00 pm (22:00 GMT) in the east and closed at 13:00. (06:00 GMT) to the west.
Unofficial “quick accounts” based on polling station samples will be published two hours after the end of the vote. The presidential candidate could be known on Wednesday, but the official results will be known only in May.
A voter’s finger is soaked with ink after voting in elections in Jakarta, Indonesia, April 17, 2019.
Any dispute may be brought before the Constitutional Court, where a group of nine judges will have 14 days to decide.
More than 10,000 volunteers will gather election results at polling stations to counter fraud attempts.
However, the opposition has already alleged irregularities in the voters’ list that could affect millions of people and promised to take legal action or “carry the power” if its concerns were ignored.
Widodo’s second, Muslim cleric Ma’ruf Amin, called for a peaceful vote.
“The presidential election is not a war, but a search for the best leader,” said Kompas TV.
The election is touted as the world’s largest vote in the world and is certainly one of the most complicated, with voters competing for five paper ballots for president, vice-president and legislative candidates at the national and regional levels.
Some voters in Jakarta have clearly opposed the process.
“The ballots with the photos were actually confusing. And the other one had a lot of names I did not recognize, “said first-time voter, Orlando, 19.
In the easternmost province of Papua, voting in some areas has been postponed until later this week after 64 districts have not received “necessary electoral logistics,” officials said.
Floods have destroyed three polling stations, disrupting the vote, on the island of Sumatra, media reports said.
Widodo has campaigned for his record of deregulation and infrastructure improvement, calling his first term as a step in the fight against inequality and poverty in the largest economy in Southeast Asia.
The issues of bread and butter were central to the concerns of many constituents.
“I hope that future prices for staple foods will be cheaper, especially as we head for Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr,” said Nurani, a mother of three who is 41 years oldm, who voted in Bandar Lampung, Sumatra.
But religion also played a role in the elections in the most populous country in the world, with a Muslim majority, where the conservatives had a growing influence.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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