Indonesia: Indonesians Votes For Its President In World’s Biggest One-Day Election

Indonesia: Indonesians Votes For Its President In World’s Biggest One-Day Election: In order to choose a new president and parliament, Indonesians began voting in the world’s biggest single-day election on Wednesday for the world’s third-biggest democracy, as polling stations opened across the sprawling equatorial archipelago following a six-month campaign.

The first votes were cast in easternmost provinces after polling booths opened at 7 a.m. followed an hour later by central regions such as Bali and then the capital Jakarta and western provinces. Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago of 17,000 islands, has three time zones. The eight-hour vote across a country that stretches more than 5,000 km (3,000 miles) from its western to eastern tips is both a Herculean logistical feat and testimony to the resilience of democracy two decades after authoritarianism was defeated.

About 193 million people are eligible to vote in polls that will decide who leads the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation. Indonesians are also voting for Senate and national, provincial and district legislatures which are being contested by more than 245,000 candidates.

President Joko Widodo, a furniture businessman who entered politics 14 years ago as a small-city mayor, is seeking re-election against former general Prabowo Subianto, whom he narrowly defeated in the last election, in 2014.

Ballot papers were delivered with security escorts to remote regions of the country by plane, speedboat, canoe, and horseback. Two speedboats have been deployed as mobile polling stations for residents on the Thousand Islands chain north of Jakarta.

On the eve of the vote, Prabowo said, “Even though there have been obstacles and anomalies, I believe, at the end of it, we cannot contain the will of the people.”

The analysts said that an unexpected win for the challenger could trigger a brief sell-off in financial markets that have priced in a Widodo victory.

An associate professor at Australian National University, Marcus Mietzner said, “Should Prabowo win, this would literally be the end of opinion polling in Indonesia … and a major, major upset.” Predicting Widodo’s re-election, he further added, “The question is what the margin of victory will be.”

Voters will have five paper ballots for president, vice president, and national and regional legislative candidates.

Based on samples from polling stations, unofficial “quick counts”, will be released hours after voting ends. The winning presidential candidate could be known by late on Wednesday.

Official results will be announced in May. Any disputes can be taken to the Constitutional Court where a nine-judge panel will have 14 days to rule on them.