Prabowo leads Indonesia Presidential election

Prabowo had about 58% of votes according to four pollsters, based on ballots counted in a sample of voting stations nationwide.

Prabowo Subianto

Unofficial tallies in Indonesia’s presidential election on Wednesday showed Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto taking a commanding lead that could see him win in a single round if sustained.

Prabowo had about 58% of votes according to four pollsters, based on ballots counted in a sample of voting stations nationwide. The number of votes they had tallied ranged from about 52% to 67% as of 0912 GMT.

Rivals Anies Baswedan and Ganjar Pranowo had about 25% and 17% respectively, according to the independent pollsters that were conducting “quick counts” at the close of voting.

Counts by reputable outlets have proven to be accurate in previous elections. An official result is not expected until several weeks after the vote.

The pattern could signal a first round win for Prabowo. To win in a single round, a candidate needs more than 50% of votes cast and 20% of the ballot in half of the country’s provinces.

If no candidate wins a majority, a runoff between the top two finishers will be held in June.

The contest pits popular former governors Ganjar and Anies against the pre-election frontrunner Prabowo, a former special forces commander feared in the 1990s as a top lieutenant of Indonesia’s late strongman ruler Suharto.

“Alhamdulillah (Praise be to God), we hope the election can go in one round,” said Nusron Wahid, secretary of Prabowo’s campaigning team, commenting on the latest quick counts.

The world’s biggest single-day election has included nearly 259,000 candidates vying for 20,600 posts across the archipelago of 17,000 islands, but the focus has been firmly on the race to replace President Joko Widodo, opens new tab, whose influence could determine who takes the helm of the world’s third-largest democracy.

The early lead will be a big boost for Prabowo, who has undergone an image rebrand and is contesting his third successive election after twice losing out to the hugely popular Widodo, who cannot run again because of term limits.

Jokowi, as the incumbent is known, is tacitly backing and betting on his former rival as a continuity candidate to preserve his legacy, including a role for his son Gibran Rakabuming Raka as Prabowo’s running mate.

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