Indonesian president picks conservative running mate for poll

Sergio Conner
August 12, 2018

Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has picked a senior Muslim cleric as his running mate for next year's election, in a move seen as an attempt to bolster his religious credentials amid accusations by conservatives that he is not Islamic enough.

10 de agosto de 2018, 11:59Jakarta, Aug 10 (Prensa Latina) Candidates for the presidency of Indonesia for the period 2019-2024 have made their candidacies official today in this capital to the electoral authorities.

His opponent will be General Prabowo Subianto, representing a coalition of the Greater Indonesia Movement Party, the National Mandate Party and the Prosperous Justice Party, which leads Sandiaga Uno, vice governor of Jakarta, to run for vice president.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said on Thursday he had chosen 75-year-old Islamic cleric Ma'ruf Amin as his running mate in next year's presidential election.

Indonesia, the world's third-largest democracy and biggest Muslim-majority country, goes to the polls in April. Amin is now Chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council (Majelis Ulama Indonesia) as well as Chairman of the advisory council of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the world's largest Islamic organization.

Known for his disparaging views towards certain minorities, including Indonesia's LGBT community, Amin was instrumental in the jailing of Jakarta's former Christian governor Basuki "Ahok" Purnama in 2017 by declaring he had committed blasphemy.

"Democracy is not war, democracy is not hostility, but is a contest of ideas, track record and achievements", Jokowi said Friday.

The two will be challenged by former general Prabowo Subianto and his vice presidential candidate pick, the deputy governor of Jakarta, Sandiaga Uno.

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Associate Professor Fealey said Mr Amin would provide a "political shield" to Jokowi, who is sometimes accused of not being religious enough.

A longtime commander in Indonesia's "Kopassus" special forces, Subianto was discharged from the military in 1998 after Kopassus soldiers tortured activists who opposed dictator Suharto.

"I can truly understand his decision", said Hariyadi.

"We just want to be in power with the permission of the Indonesian people".

There was a celebratory atmosphere and snarled traffic outside the election commission in central Jakarta as the candidates arrived.

Changing the political leadership structure ahead of the 2019 presidential elections.

"We will fight for all Indonesian people, whatever their religion, whatever the tribe, whatever the ethnicity, whatever the race", Mr Prabowo said after officially registering his ticket.

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