Channel NewsAsia

Indonesians in Singapore vote ahead of presidential election

Thousands of Indonesians flocked to the Indonesian Embassy at Chatsworth Road on Sunday (July 6) to cast their ballots ahead of their country's presidential election on Wednesday.

SINGAPORE: Indonesians residing in Singapore flocked to the Indonesian Embassy at Chatsworth Road on Sunday (July 6) to cast their ballots ahead of their country's presidential election on Wednesday.

As of 6pm when the polling booths closed, more than 22,000 Indonesians had cast their votes at the embassy.

The embassy has also received some 12,000 voting slips by mail, and it is expecting about 5,000 more slips by July 7.A queue had formed outside the Indonesian Embassy even before the gates opened at 8am.

About half of the 200,000 Indonesians in Singapore had indicated their interest to vote, with about 17,000 of them opting to do so by mail.

Some 13,000 people cast their votes at the legislative elections in April, and the embassy is expecting a bigger turnout this time around.

It said the election committee has increased awareness among Indonesians, using avenues such as mailed letters and social media.

Andri Hadi, Indonesian Ambassador to Singapore, said: "We are confident that the turnout will surpass the 13,000 voters during the last legislative elections, since the candidates are very familiar figures among the voters. Thank God that we have good weather today, we hope to welcome 15,000 voters."

Indonesians in Singapore joined their counterparts from more than 100 countries in casting their ballots overseas.

Their votes will be counted in Singapore from Wednesday, the day the presidential poll opens in Indonesia. The results from this voting station will only be known on Saturday.

Andri Hadi said: "The election is very tight head-to-head, so we do appreciate the high enthusiasm from the Indonesian community who stay abroad to vote. We are all happy to participate in choosing the next president for Indonesia."

Most voters said the entire voting exercise took less than 15 minutes, although those who arrived early were able to complete the process more quickly.

The embassy said much of that was due to a barcode registration system that had proven successful during voting for the legislative elections.

Many of those who turned up are hoping their pick for president will pave the way for reforms back home.

The election pits Jakarta governor Joko Widodo against former general Prabowo Subianto.

One voter said: "Hopefully with this, it'll be a better country, and there are a lot of areas that will be improved, especially with corruption."

Another voter said: “(I hope for) a better economy for the people in villages and poorer people, so that they find it easier to get a job."

And among voters' other aspirations is getting Indonesia to play a more active role in the international community. 

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