A woman casts her vote at a polling station in Tangerang, Indonesia, July 9, 2014. Indonesians on Wednesday went to polls to pick up their new president for the country. (Xinhua/Agung Kuncahya B.)
JAKARTA, July 9 (Xinhua) -- Indonesians on Wednesday went to polls to pick up their new president for the country.
The voting started first in the eastern part of Indonesia at 08: 00 a.m. local time which is two hours earlier than the rest parts of Indonesia. Two presidential candidates, Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo, 53 and former general Prabowo Subianto, 63, are contesting for the country's top office.
This is Indonesia's third direct presidential election. Recent opinion polls showed that the two had been running neck to neck. A presidential ticket needs a simple majority to win.
As many as 190.3 million Indonesians have registered for voting, and the Indonesian General Elections Commission has expected high voter turnover.
Indonesia is a vast archipelago country, with a chain of about 17,500 islands. The new president is expected to address the country's main challenges of corruption, poor infrastructure, bureaucracy, uncertainty in regulation and huge subsidy on energy.
Jokowi, a popular name for Joko Widodo, pairs with former vice president and chairman of the second biggest Golkar Party Jusuf Kalla, who has a great influence in the eastern part of the country.
Prabowo has picked Hatta Rajasa, chairman of the National Mandate Party (PAN), as his running mate. Jokowi is nominated by the winner of April legislative polls the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), and supported by the National Awakening Party (PKB), the National Democratic Party (Nasdem), the People Conscience Party (Hanura) and the Indonesian Unity Justice Party (PKPI).
His rival Prabowo is supported by the second rank Golkar Party, the National Mandate Party, the Democratic Party, the Indonesian United Development Party (PPP), the Prosperous and Justice Party ( PKS) and the Moon and Star Party (PBB).
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who will end his current term in October, takes side with Prabowo-Hatta pair. Yudhoyono is barred by the law from running again.
To prevent any possible violence, President Yudhoyono last week ordered police and armed forces to step up security during the voting and the following days.
Independent agencies will provide a quick tally of votes counted across the country by around 1200 GMT.
The election commission is scheduled to announce the official result on July 21-22 and from July 23 to 25, candidates can take disputes in the polls to the Constitutional Court should the result is challenged.
The new president will be inaugurated on Oct. 20, according to the commission.