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Candidate governor Anies Baswedan casts his vote in the Jakarta governor election in South Jakarta, Indonesia April 19, 2017. REUTERS/Beawiharta

(reuters_tickers)

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Former Indonesian education minister, Anies Baswedan, was slightly ahead of Jakarta's incumbent Christian governor in the race to lead the Indonesian capital, unofficial early counting by a private pollster showed on Wednesday.

Baswedan had secured 51.93 percent of the votes, just ahead of Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, known as "Ahok", on 48.07 percent, based on a quick sample count of around 5 percent of the vote by Indikator Politik.

A candidate needs a simple majority to win. The national elections commission will announce official results in early May.

The Jakarta poll has been overshadowed by religious tensions, with mass Islamist-led protests against Purnama, and is being widely seen as a proxy battle for the presidential election in 2019.

(Reporting by Jakarta bureau; Writing by Kanupriya Kapoor and Ed Davies; Editing by Bill Tarrant)

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