Strongman vies with 'people's president' to lead Indonesia
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Strongman vies with 'people's president' to lead Indonesia

Workers prepare ballot boxes to be distributed to polling stations in Jakarta, Indonesia, Monday, April 15, 2019. The world's third-largest democracy is gearing up to hold its legislative and presidential elections on April 17.(Achmad Ibrahim)

JAKARTA, Indonesia — About 193 million Indonesians are eligible to vote in a presidential election that will decide who leads a nation that’s an outpost of democracy in a neighbourhood of authoritarian governments.

Their choice Wednesday is between five more years of the steady progress achieved under Indonesia’s first president from outside the Jakarta elite or electing a charismatic but volatile figure from the era of the Suharto military dictatorship that ended two decades ago.

In the final moves of the campaign, the front-runner, President Joko Widodo, dashed to Saudi Arabia to meet its king and perform a minor pilgrimage.

The message intended by Widodo’s trip to the birthplace of Islam was obvious after a campaign in which conservative opponents tried to discredit him as insufficiently Islamic.

The Associated Press

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