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Indonesia capital votes for governor after divisive campaign

AP  |  Jakarta 

Residents of the Indonesian capital are electing a governor today after a polarising campaign that undermined the country's reputation for practicing a tolerant form of Islam.

The runoff pits the minority Christian incumbent, Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, against a former Cabinet minister, Anies Baswedan, who has courted the support of conservative clerics who oppose electing a non-Muslim.

The Jakarta battle, which stirred religious and ethnic tensions, has highlighted the growing strength of hard-line Islamic groups in the world's most populous Muslim nation.

More than 13,000 polling places opened for Jakarta's 7.1 million eligible voters.

Ahok is on trial for blaspheming the Quran and hundreds of thousands have protested against him in Jakarta, calling for him to be imprisoned.

Baswedan and Ahok were neck in neck in opinion polls released earlier this week.

National police chief Tito Karnavian has said thousands of police and military personnel would be deployed to secure the vote from intimidation.

In the west Jakarta neighborhood of Kebon Jeruk, polling station No 69 was guarded by two police officers, a soldier and several public order officers from the city administration.

So called "quick count" results by research companies, which give a reliable indicator of voting, will be available within hours of the polls closing at 1 pm.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, April 19 2017. 07:07 IST