JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Millions of Indonesians choose a new president Wednesday as the world’s third-largest democracy aspires to become a global economic powerhouse just over 25 years since emerging from a brutal authoritarian era.

The incumbent Indonesian defense minister, who has been accused of human rights atrocities as an ex-general, and two former governors are vying to succeed the still-widely popular President Joko Widodo.

Widodo’s rise from a riverside slum to his country’s presidency has showcased the vibrancy of his Southeast Asian nation’s democracy in a region rife with authoritarian regimes.

The voting in a vast archipelago of 17,000 islands sprawled across three time zones, with a population of 270 million, is a logistical nightmare, with white ballot boxes and ballots being brought by donkeys and on foot in some of the more remote locations.

Aside from the presidency, about 20,000 national, provincial and district parliamentary posts would be contested by tens of thousands of candidates. About 10,000 hopefuls from 18 political parties are eyeing the the national parliament’s 580 seats alone.

The presidency is being contested by Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto and two former provincial governors, Anies Baswedan and Ganjar Pranowo.

Subianto, who is the front-runner based on several independent surveys, has picked Widodo’s eldest son, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, as his vice-presidential running mate.

Subianto is the only candidate with links to the 1967-98 Suharto dictatorship, when he was a lieutenant general. A longtime commander in the Kopassus special forces, he was dishonorably discharged in 1998 after Kopassus soldiers kidnapped and tortured political opponents of Suharto, his then-father-in-law.

Of 22 activists kidnapped that year, 13 remain missing. Subianto never faced trial, although several of his men were tried and convicted.

Polls show the 72-year-old Subianto well ahead of his two rivals, though perhaps not with the majority needed to avoid a runoff. While he is the oldest candidate, his running mate is the youngest: 36-year-old Surakarta Mayor Gibran Rakabuming Raka, Widodo’s son.

Raka is below the statutory minimum age of 40 but was allowed to run under an exception created by the Constitutional Court. The court was then headed by Widodo’s brother-in-law, which set off criticism against the president over perceived favoritism.

Subianto has vowed to continue Widodo’s economic development plan in what experts view as an attempt to draw on Widodo’s popularity. But he is strongly opposed by human rights activists, who associate him with torture and disappearances during the final years of the Suharto dictatorship.

Baswedan, the former head of an Islamic university, served as governor of Jakarta until last year. A former Fulbright scholar, Baswedan had been education and culture minister from 2014 to 2016, when Widodo removed him from the Cabinet.

Baswedan opposes Widodo’s signature plan to move Indonesia’s capital from Jakarta to Nusantara on the island of Borneo, about 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles) away, which involves constructing government buildings and housing from scratch.

He said in an interview with The Associated Press last month that democracy in Indonesia is declining, referring to Subianto’s choice of Widodo’s son as his running mate, and pledged to get it back on track.

“This means that there is a decline in trust, it means that our democracy is experiencing a decline in quality, it means that many legal rules are being bent,” he said.

Pranowo is the governing party candidate, but does not have the support of Widodo. He was a national legislator for the governing Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle for 10 years before being elected in 2013 for the first of two terms as Central Java governor.

While governor, he refused to allow Israel to participate in the Under-20 FIFA World Cup to be held in his province. FIFA subsequently dropped Indonesia as host of the games, triggering a backlash against Pranowo from soccer fans.

Israel and Muslim-majority Indonesia do not have diplomatic ties.

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