Indonesia's smaller parties are set to play a key role in July's presidential race after an unofficial tally showed they fared better than forecast in this week's parliamentary election.
The result complicates the campaign of front runner Djoko Widodo.
With unofficial results showing the Jakarta governor shy of the votes needed to run on his own as the main opposition party's candidate, he has signalled he's open to talks on a coalition.
Surveys taken before Wednesday's parliamentary vote had indicated the smaller parties would lose ground to the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, or PDI-P, after it announced last month that Djoko, 52, was its presidential pick.
"They can be kingmakers," Paul Rowland, a political analyst in Jakarta, said of the smaller parties. "I don't think an alliance between any of the big three is on."
An unofficial tally by the Lingkaran Survei Indonesia consultancy shows the PDI-P got just under 20 per cent of the vote, giving smaller parties the chance to bargain with it or form their own coalition ahead of the election for the leader of the world's third-largest democracy.
Even if Djoko prevails, he will face a divided parliament that may hamper his efforts to implement policy changes.
Under election rules, presidential candidates must have the backing of parties or coalitions that secured 20 per cent of seats or 25 per cent of the popular vote. Djoko's party took 19.6 per cent, while the other main candidates - tycoon Aburizal Bakrie of Golkar and former general Prabowo Subianto of Gerindra - saw their parties win 14.6 per cent and 11.9 per cent.
Official results are not expected until May 9.
The best performer among the smaller parties was the National Awakening Party, or PKB, a moderate Muslim party that lifted its vote to an estimated 9 per cent from 5 per cent in 2009, and which has ties to the PDI-P.
Six smaller parties, including the PKB, secured about 41 per cent of the vote between them, up from 30 per cent in 2009.
That compares with the combined estimate of 46 per cent that was won by PDI-P, Golkar and Gerindra.
The biggest drop was suffered by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's Democratic Party of Indonesia, which fell to 9.7 per cent from 20.8 per cent.
The inability of PDI-P to reach a forecast 30 to 45 per cent vote "suggests that there was an erosion of confidence in Widodo at the last minute", said Keith Loveard, head of political risk analysis at Concord Consulting.
"The body language of his appearances with Megawati has not been reassuring - he looked like he was her nervous underling," he said, a reference to PDI-P chairwoman and former president Megawati Sukarnoputri.
The biggest surprise in the unofficial returns is the performance of Islamic parties like PKB, which surveys had predicted would be crushed.