Jakarta, Indonesians cast their votes in simultaneous legislative and presidential elections held across the country’s 34 provinces on Wednesday.The elections in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation made up of 17,000 islands are the biggest, most complex one-day polls in the world. More than half of the voters are aged 40 or under in what is the world’s third-largest democracy after India and the US.
Officially a secular country, Indonesia is nearly 90 percent Muslim and has more Muslims than any other country.Coordinating Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto assured total security during the simultaneous elections.
“We have to hold the process in a peaceful, smooth, and successful manner,” Wiranto said, chairing a meeting held to discuss final preparations during the voting day.
Much of the focus is on the presidential race. The 2019 race will be a re-play of the 2014 election in which President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) faced retired general Prabowo Subianto.
The vote will be the world’s biggest direct presidential election (the US has an indirect electoral college system).
Incumbent Widodo this time has picked well-known cleric Ma’ruf Amin as his running mate, while Subianto has paired with successful, young businessman Sandiaga Uno.
Pre-poll surveys show Widodo having a lead of up to 20 percentage points over Subianto.
At 809,500 polling stations, voters will also be choosing from more than 250,000 candidates for 20,538 legislative seats at five levels of government over a period of just six hours.
The Election Commission said a total of 192,866,254 people, comprising 190,779,969 across Indonesia and 2,086,285 Indonesians overseas, will be casting their ballots. The Commission has set up 809,699 polling stations across the 34 provinces.
Indonesia’s elections are seen as relatively free and fair. Election observers from 33 countries have been invited to monitor the polls.
A young democracy, elections are a colourful affair, described locally as “pesta demokrasi”, or “democracy party”.