Indonesians vote in Jakarta's gubernatorial election

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PERHAPS the most anticipated election for Jakarta's governor in the city's history has proved inconclusive.

Though numerous other regional elections are being held in Indonesia today - 101 across the country's provinces, regencies and cities - the Jakarta governor election is by far the most contentious.

Analysts said divisions could linger and even deepen after this election, which is also widely seen as a proxy battle for the next presidential election in 2019.

The election race for the governor of Indonesia's capital, Jakarta, looks set to go to a second round after no candidate secured 50% of votes. Consequently, the second round of voting is expected to be held in April, according to Reuters.

Unofficial "quick count" tallies showed the incumbent Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, who is backed by President Joko Widodo, leading with around 43 percent of the vote.

Jakarta gubernatorial candidate Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono speaks to residents during his campaign.

Voter turnout was reportedly at a record high of more than 80 percent.

"The result shouldn't be surprising to those who follow credible polls", Ross Tapsell of the Australian National University told Asian Correspondent. Recent opinion polls have put Purnama in the lead, but below the threshold for a majority.

Polling company Indikator last week showed percentage support for the candidates roughly similar to the outcome of the quick count - taking into consideration 6.5% of then-undecided voters.


Ahok is running against two Muslim candidates, former Education Minister Anies Baswedan and Agus Yudhoyono, the son of former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Yudhoyono conceded defeat in the election on Wednesday evening, congratulating his opponents.

Jakarta's gubernatorial election has become the most-talked about among all the simultaneous regional elections now ongoing in Indonesia due to the blasphemy case against Ahok.

His supporters have also taken up the fashion, turning up at his weekly court appearances where they are separated by police in colourful contrast to white-clad members of a hardline Muslim group calling for Purnama to be jailed.

Ironically, Ahok proved the most popular candidate in Pulau Seribu, the Thousand Islands, where he allegedly committed blasphemy previous year.

Baswedan said "Thanks be to God!" on hearing he looked on course to become governor of the megacity of 10 million - but Purnama, who has won support with his determination to clean up Jakarta, signalled he was ready for a fight.

His closest rival, Islamic conservative Anies Rasyid Baswedan, was close behind him with 40%.

Speaking to reporters as he voted Wednesday morning in South Jakarta, Baswedan said he was praying for a positive result.

A lot can happen in two months. If Ahok eventually wins and is later found guilty of blasphemy, he would be immediately dismissed as governor.

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