Indonesia election: Widodo 'leads presidential race', say polls

BY: bbc.com
Indonesian President Joko Widodo, with his wife Iriana, votes in the election
Indonesian President Joko Widodo, with his wife Iriana, votes in the election

Indonesia's president looks to be on course for re-election, according to unofficial results released within hours of polls closing.

Joko Widodo has a lead of more than 10% over his rival, the ex-general Prabowo Subianto, in some early results.

Official results are not expected until May, but the so-called "quick counts" - undertaken by polling companies - have proved correct in previous years.

Indonesia voted on Wednesday in one of the world's largest one-day elections.

More than 192 million people were eligible to cast their ballot to select 20,000 local and national lawmakers, including the president.

The presidential race was a re-match of the 2014 contest between Mr Widodo and Mr Prabowo, who both made political moves in line with the increased prominence of conservative Islam in the country.

A BBC poll, conducted by Kompas, puts Mr Widodo's share of the sample ballot counted so far at 55%, while his rival has 44%.

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According to analysts, neither of the candidates presented wildly different policy platforms, apart from their views on Chinese investment.

"Therefore, the only contrast they can draw is by showing their religious credentials," said Made Supriatma, a visiting fellow and Indonesia expert at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore.

"This election is a 'race to the right'... a race to show who is more Islamic conservative."

One Muslim voter told the BBC that "religion has been blown out of proportion in this election".

Muslim-majority Indonesia is made up of thousands of islands and has more than 260 million people. It is home to the world's largest Muslim population.