Indonesians begin voting in local elections across the sprawling archipelago, after a bitterly fought campaign to win the prize of governing the capital, Jakarta, that has inflamed religious tensions in the Muslim-majority nation. Samantha Vadas reports.
D-day in Indonesia. Voters heading to the polls in 101 regional elections Wednesday (February 15) with many eyes on the capital. The race for Jakarta's top job as governor is hotly contested and is widely seen as a proxy battle for the next presidential election in 2019. (SOUNDBITE) (Bahasa Indonesia) VOTER, SUPARDI, SAYING: "The people here are very enthusiastic to vote, it is a way for us to demonstrate democracy (in Indonesia)." It's been a bitterly fought campaign for the capital's most powerful post between the incumbent governor known as Ahok and two muslim candidates. Ahok was deputy to Joko Widodo and is the city's first ethnic Chinese and Christian leader. He's currently on trial for allegedly insulting the Koran angering many voters in the muslim majority country and raising questions about the role of religion in politics. (SOUNDBITE) (Bahasa Indonesia) JAKARTA VOTER, ANI LESTERI, SAYING: "I need a leader who I can rely on and will care about all residents, who will pay attention to people from all walks of life, regardless of low-income to high-income communities." Official results are expected to be released in two weeks. If no candidate comes out on top a runoff will be held between the two with the most votes.