Strongman vies with 'people's president' to lead Indonesia

In this Monday, April 15, 2019, file photo, police officers and soldiers escort electoral workers using horses to distribute ballot boxes and other el

In this Monday, April 15, 2019, file photo, police officers and soldiers escort electoral workers using horses to distribute ballot boxes and other el

Police officers and soldiers escort electoral workers using horses to distribute ballot boxes and other election paraphernalia to polling stations in

Police officers and soldiers escort electoral workers using horses to distribute ballot boxes and other election paraphernalia to polling stations in

FILE - In this Sept. 23, 2018, file photo, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, left, and his contender in the upcoming election Prabowo Subianto share a

FILE - In this Sept. 23, 2018, file photo, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, left, and his contender in the upcoming election Prabowo Subianto share a

Workers prepare ballot boxes to be distributed to polling stations in Jakarta, Indonesia, Monday, April 15, 2019. The world's third-largest democracy

Workers prepare ballot boxes to be distributed to polling stations in Jakarta, Indonesia, Monday, April 15, 2019. The world's third-largest democracy

Workers prepare ballot boxes to be distributed to polling stations in Jakarta, Indonesia, Monday, April 15, 2019. The world's third-largest democracy

Workers prepare ballot boxes to be distributed to polling stations in Jakarta, Indonesia, Monday, April 15, 2019. The world's third-largest democracy

In this Sept. 21, 2018, photo, Indonesian presidential candidates, Prabowo Subianto, seated left, and Joko Widodo, second from left, share a light mom

In this Sept. 21, 2018, photo, Indonesian presidential candidates, Prabowo Subianto, seated left, and Joko Widodo, second from left, share a light mom

Police officers and soldiers assist a worker to carry ballot boxes and other election paraphernalia as they use horses to distribute them to polling s

Police officers and soldiers assist a worker to carry ballot boxes and other election paraphernalia as they use horses to distribute them to polling s

Workers load ballot boxes and other election paraphernalia onto a horse as they prepare to distribute them to polling stations in neighboring remote v

Workers load ballot boxes and other election paraphernalia onto a horse as they prepare to distribute them to polling stations in neighboring remote v

A police officer and a soldier assist a worker as they use horses to distribute ballot boxes and other election paraphernalia to polling stations in r

A police officer and a soldier assist a worker as they use horses to distribute ballot boxes and other election paraphernalia to polling stations in r

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — About 193 million Indonesians are eligible to vote in a presidential election that will decide who leads a nation that's an outpost of democracy in a neighborhood of authoritarian governments.

Their choice Wednesday is between five more years of the steady progress achieved under Indonesia's first president from outside the Jakarta elite or electing a charismatic but volatile figure from the era of the Suharto military dictatorship that ended two decades ago.

In the final moves of the campaign, the front-runner, President Joko Widodo, dashed to Saudi Arabia to meet its king and perform a minor pilgrimage.

The message intended by Widodo's trip to the birthplace of Islam was obvious after a campaign in which conservative opponents tried to discredit him as insufficiently Islamic.