Today, on 17 April 2019, more than 190 million Indonesians will make their way to the polls to exercise their right to vote in the world’s largest one-day elections. The ballots pit president Joko Widodo against ex-general Prabowo Subianto in a race to lead the Muslim-majority nation. Analysts say the two main contenders, apart from their views on Chinese investment, have not presented wildly different policy platforms.
It will be the first time the country’s presidential, parliamentary and regional elections are all taking place on the same day. This combined with the massive number of voters, makes this event one of the most complex undertakings in history. More than 245,000 candidates are running for around 20,000 national and local legislative seats. Complicating things further is the geography of Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 17,000 islands.
Voters, including those in remote and far-flung parts of the vast country, will have a window of only six hours to cast their ballots at one of the 810,000 polling stations that have been set up. Further complications stem from the fact that Indonesia has three different time zones. However officials are likely to allow anyone already in line when stations close to cast their ballots.
Being able to pull off this election without a hitch would be a logistical feat worthy of praise.
Even before voting began the poll was hit with claims of vote-rigging. Prabowo and his team have claimed that there were voter lists that included names of the dead and those not eligible to vote. The Election Commission is investigating the claims.
Early voting has already begun for Indonesians living abroad.
For now, we can only wait in anticipation as the election commission will only announce the final results in May.