Muslim-majority Indonesia votes in its biggest-ever election

Some of the marked ballot papers found in a shophouse in Bangi Selangor

Some of the marked ballot papers found in a shophouse in Bangi Selangor

Tens of millions of Indonesians voted in presidential and legislative elections Wednesday after a campaign that pitted the moderate incumbent against an ultranationalist former general whose fear-based rhetoric warned that the country would fall apart without his strongman leadership.

A series of so-called "quick counts" are expected to give a reliable indication of the presidential victor later Wednesday.

"Let us reunite as brothers and sisters of the country after this election, establish our harmony and brotherhood".

Unofficial "quick counts", based on samples from polling stations, will be released two hours after voting ends.

But Widodo has disappointed some of his more liberal base by picking a powerful Islamic cleric, 76-year-old Ma'ruf Amin, as his running mate despite his intolerance toward minority Muslim sects and LGBT communities.

A record 245,000 candidates are running for public office, from the presidency and parliamentary seats to local positions - the first time all are being held on the same day.

At 7am (2200 GMT) voters began punching holes in ballots - to make clear their candidate choice - and then dipping a finger in Muslim-approved halal ink, a measure to prevent double-voting in a graft-riddled country where ballot-buying is rife.

After casting his vote and brief interviews with journalists, Prabowo took the opportunity to greet his supporters that were in the vicinity of the polling station. "People are enthusiastic, smiling, and it's been smooth", she said.

Ayu said she strongly supported the president because he "has a vision, is honest and works hard". "He has built a lot of infrastructure and not just for Jakarta, but all over Indonesia, for all Indonesians".

More than 190 million voters were asked to choose between the incumbent Widodo, lauded for his infrastructure driven economic push, and his fiery nationalist rival, who has strong ties to the country's three-decade Suharto dictatorship.

In the lead-up to the election some voters, disillusioned with the president and also unimpressed with the challenger, a former general accused of human rights abuses including in East Timor, had vowed to "golput", or abstain, in protest. "Should be tight, maybe 50/50", said Bambang Sukanto, a council worker, at one Jakarta polling station.

In one of the only remaining democratic bright spots in south-east Asia, the election campaign has been marked by a deluge of fake news, and in the world's largest Muslim-majority nation, attempts by the candidates to outdo each other in displays of religiosity. In the bitterly divisive election of 2014, Jokowi defeated Prabowo by 6 percentage points.

In recent months the opposition has also claimed the integrity of the electoral list is undermined by the existence of millions of "ghost" voters - a move some analysts believe indicates it is laying the groundwork for a legal challenge if Prabowo loses.

Speaking to reporters near his home in Bogor, West Java, after voting, Prabowo said he could not guarantee there would not be any post-election chaos, but said it would not come from his team. "We should stay optimistic at work".

"In my opinion, we should not be prejudiced because we're all professionals", Luhut said, "Quick-count results from different pollsters only have slight differences; 1 to 2 percent". "But, we don't want to be cheated any more". "Jokowi has sought to co-opt a number of Islamic conservatives", Connolly said, noting his choice of Amin was created to "make a number of Muslims who might feel uncomfortable voting for Jokowi feel a little more comfortable voting for him".

Across the archipelago there were also several logistical hiccups.