Jakarta. The incumbent governor of Jakarta, Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, was neck and neck with rival Anies Baswedan in the race to lead the Indonesian capital, early counting by private pollsters showed.
Former education minister Baswedan had secured 40.54 percent of the votes, just ahead of Purnama in second place with 39.43 percent, based on a quick sample count of around 10 percent of the vote by a private polling firm SMRC. The other candidate, Agus Yudhoyono, was in third place with 20.03 percent.
The Jakarta poll was overshadowed by religious tensions, with major Islamist protests against the Christian of Chinese descent Ahok, and is being widely seen as a proxy battle for the presidential election in 2019.
If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, a runoff is expected between the two candidates with the most votes.