Indonesia holds historic elections

Voters mark their ballots at a polling booth during elections in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia April 17, 2019. (Reuters Photo)

More than 192 million Indonesians flocked to the polls Wednesday to vote in the nation's first simultaneous presidential and legislative elections.

They will elect their president and vice president as well as members of the House of Representatives, Regional Representative Council and provincial and municipal councils.

Titi Anggraini, executive director of election watchdog the Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem), said that previously, legislative elections were held first in April, followed by elections for president and vice president in July.

This time, however, voters coming to polling stations would receive five ballots at once: gray ballots for president and vice president, yellow ballots for the House of Representatives, red for the Regional Representative Council, blue for the Provincial Legislative Council and green for regency/city-level councils.

"It is not excessive to say that the 2019 elections are very monumental and historic elections for Indonesia," Titi told Anadolu Agency.

She said they are monumental because it will be a very large-scale but also historic election as this was something that had never occurred before in the course of Indonesia's electoral democracy.

"Of course, all parties want to be a part of this monumental and historic event," she added.

The presidential race is set to be a rematch between incumbent President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, 57, from the Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle (PDI-P) and Prabowo Subianto, 67, from the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra).

Known for his business in the furnishings sector, Widodo is from the Solo region on the island of Java.

Widodo's vice-presidential candidate and one of the country's leading religious leaders, 76-year-old Ma'ruf Amin, was the chairman of the country's top clerical body, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI).

Subianto, on the other hand, is a member of an elite family in the natural resources business. He used to be a general in the Indonesian Special Forces before entering politics in 2004 in the Golkar Party. He later founded Gerindra.

Both candidates first ran against each other in the 2014 presidential election, when Subianto lost by six percentage points to Widodo.

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