The eight-hour vote across a country that stretches more than 5,000 km (3,000 miles) from its western to eastern tips is both a Herculean logistical feat and testimony to the resilience of democracy two decades after authoritarianism was defeated. President Joko Widodo, a furniture businessman who entered politics 14 years ago as a small-city mayor, is seeking re-election against former general Prabowo Subianto, whom he narrowly defeated in the last election, in 2014. The economy dominated the hard-fought campaign, though the rise of political Islam loomed over the contest in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country. Most opinion polls give Widodo a double-digit lead, but the opposition says the race is much closer and Prabowo told a news conference late on Tuesday that he expected to win with 63 percent of the vote. Voting began first in the far-flung eastern province of Papua, which is two hours ahead of Jakarta, the capital. Ballot papers were delivered with security escorts to remote regions of the country by plane, speedboat, canoe and horseback. Two speedboats have been deployed as mobile polling stations for residents on the Thousand Islands chain north of Jakarta. A tornado in East Java late on Tuesday destroyed two… Read full this story
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