Independent exit polls gave incumbent leader Joko Widodo about 55 percent of the vote. The election campaign was dominated by the economy and the rising influence of conservative Islam.
Initial results from Indonesia's elections indicated that incumbent President Joko Widodo had won a second term in the world's biggest single-day election. Widodo looked set to beat ex-general Prabowo Subianto, whom he narrowly defeated once before in 2014.
Based on data collected at voting stations, independent pollsters put Widodo at about 55 percent of the vote against Prabowo's 44 percent.
Widodo, 57, had been expected to win, as surveys leading up to the election indicated a two-digit lead; however, official results from the national electoral commission are not expected until May.
Voting in the world's third-largest democracy is a massive logistical undertaking. Indonesia is comprised of over 17,500 islands that span an area the length of the northern Atlantic Ocean, and voters have to cast five paper ballots for president, vice president, and national and regional legislatures. Around 245,000 candidates were contesting the elections.
Hundreds of thousands of police and military personnel were deployed at polling stations across the country to ensure the safety of the vote.
The election campaign has been dominated by the economy and by the rising influence of conservative political Islam. Even Widodo, who ran five years ago as a moderate reformer, has tried to appear more devout in recent months, leading some observers to fear that this could lead to more populist policies.
A former governor of Jakarta, Widodo was seen in 2014 as a much-needed change from the rule of military elites who had run Indonesia since the end of the Suharto dictatorship in 1998.
es/rc (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)