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Indonesian polls go down to the wire

Published on Jul 8, 2014 12:48 PM
Supporters of front runner Joko Widodo at a campaign rally in Jakarta on June 26. The popularity gap between Mr Joko and opponent Prabowo Subianto, a former general, has narrowed as the country goes to the polls tomorrow. -- PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

When Indonesians go to the polls tomorrow they will be conscious of participating in the country's closest presidential race, a genuine two-horse cliffhanger that could trigger repercussions if the margin of victory is razor-thin.

Most June polls show Indonesian Democratic Party - Struggle (PDI-P) candidate Joko Widodo leading by 2-3 per cent over his Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) rival Prabowo Subianto, with much riding on wavering voters and election-turnout demographics.

How accurate are the surveys? In 2009, incumbent Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono beat PDI-P leader Megawati Sukarnoputri by a landslide 60 per cent to 26 per cent.

That compared to Lembaga Survei Indonesia's (LSI) pre-election poll of 63 per cent to 20 per cent. But with a third candidate, vice-president Jusuf Kalla, securing 12 per cent of the vote, 5 percentage points fewer than predicted, the comparison is virtually meaningless - more so now because of Mr Prabowo's surprising late charge into Ramadan.

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