Up to 190 million Indonesians will cast ballots in a tightly contested presidential race Wednesday, with questions mounting about whether one candidate can win convincingly enough to stave off vote challenges and unrest over ambiguous results. Pollsters say the race is too close to call between candidates with starkly different leadership styles and backgrounds: Jakarta Gov. Joko Widodo and Prabowo Subianto, a former army general under the late authoritarian ruler Suharto. Outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, at the end of his maximum 10 years in power, has warned of potential unrest in a close election, Indonesia’s first presidential race featuring only two candidates. The vote will pave the way for the first exchange of power between two directly elected presidents in the Southeast Asian nation’s history. More than 250,000 police will be on hand throughout the archipelago during the vote, with the military adding more than 30,000 in a supporting role.
Indonesian election officers unload ballot boxes from a truck in Banda Aceh on Tuesday before they are sent to remote areas in time for Wednesday’s presidential elections. European Pressphoto Agency
Army Gen. Budiman said the military was on “full alert” and would pay special attention to the densely populated region of central Java, the country’s main island.
“If the margin [of victory] is thin, we will increase alertness, but if the gap is more than 5%, it will be safer,” he said. “No matter how minor the violence might be, it must be met indiscriminately with strong action.”
Elections in Indonesia, the world’s third largest democracy, have largely been peaceful affairs since Mr. Suharto was ousted in the late 1990s. However, this election has proved especially divisive.
Full Article: Tight Indonesian Election Sparks Unrest Fears – WSJ.