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Indonesia Capital Votes For Governor After Divisive Campaign

Residents of the Indonesian capital are electing a governor on Wednesday after a polarising campaign that undermined the country's reputation for practicing a tolerant form of Islam.

Associated Press

Updated:April 19, 2017, 7:49 AM IST
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Indonesia Capital Votes For Governor After Divisive Campaign
Incumbent Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama holds up his ballot before casting his vote in the Jakarta governor election in North Jakarta, Indonesia. Image: Reuters

Jakarta: Residents of the Indonesian capital are electing a governor on Wednesday after a polarising campaign that undermined the country's reputation for practicing a tolerant form of Islam.

The runoff election pits the minority Christian incumbent, Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, against a former Cabinet minister, Anies Baswedan, who has courted the support of conservative clerics who oppose electing a non-Muslim.

The Jakarta election battle, which stirred religious and ethnic tensions, has highlighted the growing strength of hard-line Islamic groups in the world's most populous Muslim nation.

More than 13,000 polling places opened for Jakarta's 7.1 million eligible voters.

Ahok is on trial for blaspheming the Quran and hundreds of thousands have protested against him in Jakarta, calling for him to be imprisoned.

Baswedan and Ahok were neck in neck in opinion polls released earlier this week.

National police chief Tito Karnavian has said thousands of police and military personnel would be deployed to secure the vote from intimidation.

In the west Jakarta neighborhood of Kebon Jeruk, polling station No 69 was guarded by two police officers, a soldier and several public order officers from the city administration.

So called "quick count" results by research companies, which give a reliable indicator of voting, will be available within hours of the polls closing at 1 PM.

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| Edited by: Ashish Yechury
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