Indonesia headed to the polls yesterday, electing candidates for national and local government, including members of the Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat, the national parliament.

We’ve picked out some of the most interesting stories and themes from social media on the day.


Al Jazeera and Berita Satu both have good overviews of the main issues in this year’s election campaign, in English and Indonesian respectively. Financial Times correspondent Ben Bland prepared a useful explainer:

Meanwhile, the Indonesia Votes team over at New Mandala were working hard throughout the day live-blogging the poll, including early results.

The word coblos, to puncture, comes from the nail holes used to mark ballot papers.

The papers

Here’s a look at some national and local papers on election morning.

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SBY’s letter

Early in the day, current President Susilio Bambang Yudhoyono shared a letter to the Indonesian people, encouraging them to use their vote wisely. First Lady Ibu Ani shared all four pages on her famous Instagram account.

Polls open

Early on, Twitter was filled with photos of polling booths setting up for the day. At this tempt pemungutan suara in North Jakarta, election workers prayed and sang the national anthem:

Ridwan Kamil, the Mayor of Bandung, encouraged voters to decorate their polling booths, rewarding the most creative with a visit to a five-star hotel:

This booth’s committee went with a more colonial theme:

It wasn’t long until the first votes were being cast.

In Pasar Rumput, voters didn’t have to leave their motorbikes:

…while outside Bogor, the polling station came to voters:

The candidates vote

News outlets were staked out early in the day to catch candidates at the polling booths. PDI-P Presidential candidate and Governor of Jakarta Joko Widodo was a big hit at Taman Suropati, around the corner from his official residence:

Prabowo voted near his residence in Bogor…

…while the well-coordinated Yudhoyono family weren’t far away in Cikeas:

Aburizal Bakrie, Megawati Soekarnoputri, Jakarta deputy governor Ahok, dangdut start-turned-politician Rhoma Irama and NasDem founder Surya Paloh also attracted attention.

Key themes

Many tweeps expressed their hope for wise leaders and honest government. One observer likened it to “choosing a husband or wife”:

Others reflected on the power of democracy to “punish those who betray us, and reward those who help us” at the ballot box.

Throughout the day, celebrities and media outlets were on board encouraging citizens to get out the vote.

Young and old headed out to make their choice:


Throughout the day, Twitter lit up with photos from voters heading home from the polling booths — many under the hashtags #pemilu and #guenyoblos (I voted).

Some voters used it to make a statement:

Voting with benefits

Lots of companies used the poll as a promotional opportunity.

At Jokowi’s polling booth, bubur ayam and snacks were on offer, while others offered free coffee and durian.

Money politics

Same candidates drew less-than-positive attention online for their efforts to buy votes.

Others reported that some voters were confused about the voting process, while a number of polling booths were short of ballot papers. Some hospital patients also missed the opportunity to vote.

Media outlets gleefully reported from the headquarters of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), where detained bureaucrats and politicians including the former sports minister and head of the constitutional court cast their vote:

Going to the zoo

Polling day was a public holiday throughout the country, and many Indonesians took full advantage:

Traffic around Ragunan Zoo in South Jakarta was heavy, as families looked for a way to spend the day off. In the middle of town, though, things were quiet:

By early afternoon, polls were beginning to close in the east of the country, and parties and observers began to prepare for the night ahead. Megawati wasn’t the only candidate to host an event — here’s a photo from Golkar’s event in Jakarta.

Of course, it wasn’t just in Indonesia where counting was underway — here’s a photo from the Indonesian Consulate-General in Melbourne:

The first “quick counts” began to arrive around 1pm — surveys conducted by private polling companies spread around individual polling booths. Although the official result won’t be known until May, these polls give a quick indication of how each party has performed.

Like any election, news channels reaching for a bewildering array of graphics and charts.

Early results

Tempo have put together a handy summary of the quick poll results from different polling comapnies.

Early results pointed to a disappointing result for the PDI-P, with its share of the vote lagging behind expectations. Some questioned whether the party’s national campaign had failed to capitalise on the “Jokowi effect”. PDI-P members, including Megawati’s daughter Puan Maharani, however, were initially confident that this would increase as more booths in Java reported their results.

Interviewed by Metro TV’s Najwa Shihab, Jokowi said he was thankful to see the PDI-P in front.

Other observers noted Aburizal Bakrie’s confidence that his party would reach a greater-than-20% share of the vote, declaring that he would not form a coalition with another party in this year’s election.

There were also questions as to whether SBY’s Demokrat party, despite a decent showing, had squandered an opportunity to increase its vote by declaring a presidential candidate.

Journalist Ari Sharp also observed that Gerindra will need a coalition partner to put Prabowo forward as a presidential candidate, while religious parties collectively a large enough share to run a candidate of their own.

The morning after

Papers this morning are mainly focussing on the splintered nature of the result, with no single dominant party. Republika highlighted the strength of the Islamic parties, which may be able to field a presidential candidate of their own, while local paper Harian Jogya labelled the result “surprising”. Media Indonesia, meanwhile, correctly notes that the parties are now scrambling to form coalitions.

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More reading

What are we missing?

Let us know your election day highlights on Twitter or in the comments, and we’ll update this post during the day!