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Voting in Indonesia’s elections gets underway in east of country

JAYAPURA, Indonesia (Reuters) – Voting in Indonesia’s presidential and parliamentary polls got underway in the east of the country early on Wednesday, the start of the world’s biggest single-day election.

President Joko Widodo and challenger Prabowo Subianto are scheduled to vote later on Wednesday in Jakarta and satellite city Bogor, respectively.

Images on social media showed voters in the eastern province of Papua, which is two hours ahead of Jakarta, lining up to cast their ballots, while voters in central Jakarta gathered in mosques for dawn prayers ahead of polls opening there.

Nearly 350,000 police and soldiers will join 1.6 million paramilitary officers stationed across the country of 17,000 islands to safeguard the vote.

More than 192 million people are eligible to cast ballots in national and regional legislative elections being contested by more than 245,000 candidates.

Polling stations opened at 7 a.m. (2200 GMT on Tuesday) in the east and will close at 1 p.m. (0600 GMT) in the west.

Reporting by Maikel Jefriando in Jakarta; Writing by Kanupriya Kapoor; Editing by John Chalmers

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