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Jakarta Post

Elections largely peaceful despite glitches

  • Kharishar Kahfi

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, April 17, 2019   /   03:51 pm
Elections largely peaceful despite glitches Indonesia held the world’s biggest one-day 2019 presidential and legislative elections, marked by millions of citizens casting ballots at some 800,000 polling stations across the country. (JP/Jerry Adiguna)

Indonesia held the world’s biggest one-day 2019 presidential and legislative elections, marked by millions of citizens casting ballots at some 800,000 polling stations across the country. Voters likened the ambience to that of a holiday celebration.

More than 190 million Indonesians are estimated to have gone to the 800,000 polling stations to choose between two presidential tickets and hundreds of candidates for the House of Representatives, Regional Representative Council (DPD) and regional legislative councils (DPRD).

The election was met with strong enthusiasm in some parts of the country, with many voters arriving at polling stations ahead of the designated voting time. According to a General Elections Commission (KPU) regulation, polls are open from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Voters in Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara, however, had gathered at their designated polling stations one hour prior to voting time.

“It's OK if we have to wait in line for a long time. What’s important is that we can vote as soon as possible,” a resident identified as Sarisah said as quoted by Antara.

She added that she had picked out a special outfit, including a veil and skirt, to be worn on election day. “It feels like Idul Fitri.”

In West Aceh regency in Aceh, each polling station had been manned since prior to 7 a.m. by a number of polling station working committees (KPPS) and security officers comprising local police and military personnel.

A number of people were seen arriving at polling stations at 7:15 a.m. just to look at the mockup ballot displayed at each station.

Voting, however, was delayed in several regions for various reasons, including a lack of materials and delays in the distribution of ballots.

In the capital of Papua, Jayapura, election materials such as ballots and ballot boxes had been sent to KPU Jayapura, but had yet to be distributed to polling stations in Abepura district and at least three subdistricts in South Jayapura.

“[Voting] has been postponed until tomorrow morning because the ballots and ballot boxes have not arrived,” a polling station working committee member at polling station 15 at Vim subdistrict, Abepura district, said.

Voting in Banggai regency, Central Sulawesi, was also likely to be postponed owing to a delay in the distribution for more than 1 million ballots. The regency was among regions jolted by a 6.9-magnitude earthquake on April 12.

KPU Central Sulawesi head Tanwir Lamaming said the delay in distributing more than 243,000 sets of ballots was due to a lack of storage space. “KPU Banggai initially pitched a tent to store the ballots. But rainfall has been relatively heavy, so the plan was canceled.”

The presidential and vice-presidential candidates voted at separate polling stations, with incumbent Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and members of the First Family casting their ballots at polling station 08 in Gambir, Central Jakarta.

The incumbent and First Lady Iriana were wearing white, the same colored attire the incumbent and his running mate Ma’ruf Amin were pictured wearing on the ballots. They joined other citizens and waited their turn to vote.

When asked by journalists whether he was confident about winning his second five-year term, Jokowi said his belief was to be optimistic in everything that he did. "We will see the results in a few hours, so let's just be patient."

Jokowi’s contender and Gerindra Party chairman Prabowo Subianto voted at a polling station in Bojong Koneng, Bogor, West Java. He was accompanied by Gerindra deputy chairman Fadli Zon, who voted at the same polling station.

"I'm feeling optimistic," Prabowo said. "We estimate [we will win] with 63 percent."

Ma’ruf voted at a polling station near his home in Koja, North Jakarta, while Prabowo’s running mate, Sandiaga Uno, exercised his right to vote in Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta, on Wednesday morning.