Domestic workers, students among Indonesians taking part in overseas voting here

Indonesian Ambassador to Singapore Andri Hadi getting ready to cast his vote at the Indonesian embassy in Singapore on Sunday morning. -- ST PHOTO: RUPALI KAREKAR
Indonesian Ambassador to Singapore Andri Hadi getting ready to cast his vote at the Indonesian embassy in Singapore on Sunday morning. -- ST PHOTO: RUPALI KAREKAR

More than 5,000 people had voted by midday in the Indonesian parliamentary polls which are being held at the Indonesian embassy in Singapore on Sunday.

Domestic workers, students and professionals formed the bulk of the Indonesian diaspora who came in huge numbers at the make-shift polling booths erected within the embassy premises for the overseas voting process.

"We are expecting the numbers to increase manifold during the second half of the polling hours," Mr Simon Soekarno, Minister Counsellor at the embassy's Information, Social and Cultural Affairs told The Straits Times.

He said they are expecting at least 50 per cent turnout from the registered 112,000 voters here.

The final figures will be available by Sunday evening after polling closes at 6 pm. The voter turnout will determine whether the embassy extends the polling time beyond the stipulated hours.

The once-every-five-years elections will take place in Indonesia on April 9.

Meanwhile, the mood at the polling stations was enthusiastic as voters cast their ballot and then posed for pictures and hung around at a makeshift cafe within the premise.

Ambassador Andri Hadi got an enthusiatic response from the volunteers and the crowd when he came with his wife Ferial to vote at around 10 am.

"We are expecting a much better turnout this year than last time," he said expressing satisfaction at the arrangements at the embassy for the polls and the response from the diaspora.

While many were reluctant to reveal who they chose at the ballot box, there were some who wore T-shirts matching the colours of the party they support.

"I chose red," said student Fardiyano, 20, without wanting to reveal more.

The first-time voter who had come with a group of university friends, said they were looking forward to coming back to vote in the presidential polls which will take place on July 9.

Sunday's polling is expected to slack at lunch time, before picking up pace again in the afternoon, authorities said.

rupsk@sph.com.sg

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