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September 22, 2017

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Indonesia opposition party leads in early election results

JAKARTA--Indonesia's biggest opposition party was ahead in early legislative election tallies on Wednesday, giving its star candidate a much-expected boost ahead of this summer's presidential race.

The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, known as PDI-P, pulled in about 20 percent of the vote, according to early results. The party's popular presidential pick, Jakarta Gov. Joko Widodo, known affectionately as Jokowi, is largely seen as a shoo-in for the top job, to be decided July 9.

Widodo, a former furniture producer, is a newcomer to national politics, but he is adored by legions of supporters who favor his simple style, humble background and willingness to reach out to the poor. He was topping opinion polls months before being officially nominated by his party in March.

Some 200,000 candidates from 12 parties were vying for nearly 20,000 slots in Wednesday's elections, including 6,607 competing for the 560-seat House and 945 for regional representatives or the Senate. The rest were competing for provincial and local councils.

Preliminary quick count results conducted by the highly regarded Jakarta-based Indonesian Survey Circle, using random samples from 2,000 polling stations across the country's 33 provinces, put the Golkar party in second place with around 15 percent of the vote, followed by the Great Indonesia Movement Party, or Gerindra, with 12 percent.

Parties need to secure 20 percent of the seats in the House of Representatives or 25 percent of the overall vote to nominate a presidential candidate. Otherwise, a coalition must be formed with one or more parties.

"Thank God, the people have chosen PDI-P as the winner," Widodo said of his party, which is led by former President Megawati Sukarnoputri and has been out of power for a decade.

Official results will be announced next month, but the early counts are generally considered reliable indicators of winners.

After three weeks of peaceful campaigning, nearly 187 million people in three time zones were eligible to cast ballots for

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