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Indonesian poll sets Jakarta governor Widodo on course for presidency

Published on Apr 10, 2014 2:37 AM
Jakarta governor and presidential candidate from the Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle (PDI-P) party, Joko Widodo, and his wife Iriana show their ballot papers during voting in the parliamentary elections in Jakarta April 9, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA (AFP) - Indonesia's main opposition party won the most votes in parliamentary elections Wednesday, unofficial tallies showed, setting its popular presidential candidate, Jakarta governor Joko Widodo, on course to become the country's next leader.

However the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle's (PDI-P) backing of around 20 per cent was lower than expected, meaning the governor - a fresh face in a country dominated by figures from the autocratic Suharto era - may face a tougher than expected path to the presidency.

The 52-year-old former furniture business owner struck an upbeat tone nevertheless, telling reporters: "Thank God, the people have put their trust in the PDI-P." Support for President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's party fell by about half after a string of corruption scandals, but backing for Islamic parties in the world's most populous Muslim-majority country jumped - a surprise after polls predicted heavy falls.

Millions of voters earlier flocked to polling stations across the sprawling archipelago that spreads across three time zones, from mountainous Papua in the east to the crowded main island of Java to the jungles of Sumatra in the west.

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