|Front runner Widodo pulls ahead in Indonesian poll
Indonesia's main opposition party took an early lead in parliamentary elections which it hopes will strengthen the chances of its popular candidate, Jakarta governor Joko Widodo, (Pictured), in an upcoming presidential poll.
The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) had 19 percent of the national vote, according to unofficial tallies. About 50 percent of a sample of votes has been counted, AFP reports.
However, that is lower than recent surveys had predicted and, if confirmed, could make it harder for Widodo to become president.
The Democratic Party incumbent President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono looked on course for a huge loss. The tallies give it 10 percent, half its share in the 2009 legislative elections.
Millions went to the polls across the huge archipelago, which stretches across three time zones from remote and mountainous Papua in the east to the crowded main island of Java and to Sumatra in the west.
Some 186 million are eligible to vote for 230,000 candidates contesting 20,000 seats in national and regional legislatures, although the most important vote is for the lower house of the national parliament.
Today's polls determine who can run in presidential elections in July and all eyes are on front runner Widodo and the PDI-P.
He is part of a new generation of leaders in the world's third-biggest democracy, which has long been dominated by aloof former military figures and tycoons dating back to Suharto's three-decade dictatorial rule.
The former furniture business owner has been a political phenomenon since his meteoric rise to the capital's top job in 2012.
However early counts showed his party getting lower than recent predictions of 25 percent.
Several hours after polls closed the PDI-P was on 19.7 percent of the vote, according to one unofficial tally, known as a “quick count,’’ by pollster Indonesia Political Indicator. It had so far counted 50 percent of a sample of votes from some 2,000 polling stations.
A tally from pollster Indonesian Survey Circle gave the party 19.4 percent, also with about 50 percent of a sample of votes counted at some 2,000 polling stations.
A party needs 25 percent of the national vote or 20 percent of the seats in the lower house of parliament to be able to field a presidential candidate on its own.