Indonesia vote to set governor on course for presidency

Indonesia vote to set governor on course for presidency

JAKARTA - Agence France-Presse
Indonesia vote to set governor on course for presidency

Woman shows her ink-marked finger after voting in the parliamentary elections in Jakarta April 9. REUTERS Photo

Indonesia’s main opposition party took an early lead April 9 in parliamentary elections expected to bolster the presidential ambitions of its popular candidate, Jakarta governor Joko Widodo.

The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) was in first place with 19-20 percent of the national vote, according to two unofficial tallies, putting it in first place but lower than recent surveys had predicted.

Golkar, the former party of dictator Suharto, was in second place with about 15 percent, while the Gerindra party of ex-general Prabowo Subianto, also a presidential contender, was third with about 12 percent.

Some 186 million people were eligible to vote for around 230,000 candidates competing for about 20,000 seats in national and regional legislatures, although the most important vote is for the lower house of the national parliament.

Yesterday’s polls also determine who can run in presidential elections in July and all eyes are on frontrunner Widodo and the PDI-P, which has long been tipped to win the biggest share of the vote.

The legislative elections are the fourth in Indonesia since the end of authoritarian rule under Suharto in 1998. A party or coalition of parties needs 20 percent of seats in the 560-seat lower house of parliament or 25 percent of the national vote to field a candidate. The PDI-P is the only one out of 12 parties running nationwide seen as having a chance of achieving this on its own. Others will have to form coalitions to get over the threshold.