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The world's third-largest democracy is divided over two different choices - Joko Widodo, a one-time furniture maker and Prabowo Subianto, a wealthy ex-army general with close links to former dictator Suharto.
A couple of months ago, the election was considered firmly in favor of Widodo, who rose from humble beginnings to become the governor of Jakarta with a squeaky-clean political record.
But a late surge by Subianto has vastly improved his chances after he wooed legions of supporters with calls for nationalism despite allegations of widespread human rights abuses during his military career and his connection with Suharto — his former father-in-law.
Widodo's appeal is that he is seen as a man of the people who wants to advance democratic reforms even though he lacks experience in national politics, and represents a break from the past as the first candidate in direction elections with no connection to the 1966-98 Suharto-era and its excesses, the Bloomberg wrote.
When the polls opened Wednesday morning to about 190 million people, analysts predicted that undecided voters will determine the winner. Preliminary quick count results were expected later in the day, and extra police and military forces were added in case violence erupts.
High voter turnout was expected following campaigning that has energized people across the country.