Indonesian ruling coalition leads in unofficial count of parliamentary vote: pollster

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia’s ruling coalition, which backs President Joko Widodo, is on course to win more than half the votes in an election for the national parliament, based on a count of more than 60 percent of ballots cast on Wednesday, two pollsters said.

Indonesia held simultaneous presidential and parliamentary elections on Wednesday.

Widodo, running against former general Prabowo Subianto after a six-month campaign, appears to be on course to win the race to lead the world’s third-largest democracy, securing a second term, “quick count” results from private pollsters show.

Prabowo, as he is known in Indonesia, has disputed those findings and said internal polls show he is set for a win.

A quick count of a sample of votes by pollsters Kompas and Indo Barometers show the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), of which Widodo is a member, is likely to win 20.48 percent of the votes for the national parliament.

PDI-P leads Widodo’s 10-party coalition which now controls the lower house, which is the main parliamentary chamber.

However, both pollsters find that Prabowo’s Greater Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) is on track to become parliament’s second largest party, with 13 percent of the vote.

“PDI-P will take first, with better results than 2014, as expected, riding on Jokowi’s coat tails,” said Achmad Sukarsono, an Indonesia analyst at Control Risks, using the president’s nickname.

“Gerindra will also enjoy a coat tail effect and is very likely to replace Golkar as the second party, which has suffered from corruption scandals.”

Kompas and Indo Barometer are two of more than 40 pollsters accredited by the General Elections Commission to conduct unofficial quick counts.

In previous elections, the counts from reputable companies proved to be accurate.

Islamic parties also appeared to have done well. The moderate National Awakening Party (PKB), which is part of the Jokowi coalition, is on track to get 9 percent of the vote. The Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), which is aligned with Prabowo, also had about 9 percent of the vote, according to the quick counts.

The smaller National Mandate party, which is part of Prabowo’s coalition, had less than 7 percent of the vote.

The poll followed a campaign dominated by economic issues but also marked by the growing influence of conservative Islam in the world’s biggest Muslim-majority nation.

Official results will be announced by the election commission on May 22.

There are 575 seats in the lower house of the national parliament up for grabs and 136 in the upper house.

Reporting by Fanny Potkin; Editing by Robert Birsel and Clarence Fernandez