Indonesia's Jokowi to Partner With Cleric in Bid for Second Term
12 August, 2018, 14:04 | Author: Myra Gill
The head of the Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo), Hariyadi Sukamdani, viewed the president's decision to tap Ma'aruf Amin as his running mate in the 2019 election was Jokowi's attempt to suppress issues of identity politics, which poses a threat towards Indonesia's unity.
President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) saw off the Indonesian contingent to the 18th Asian Games 2018 in the central yard of the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on Wednesday.
His rival in what is expected to be a two-horse race is former general Prabowo Subianto, who is teaming up with Jakarta's deputy governor, Sandiaga Uno, a wealthy businessman and fellow party stalwart.
Ma'ruf has served as the chairman of the Indonesian Ulemas Council (MUI) and Advisory Leader of the Nahdlatul Ulama, the world's largest Muslim organization. Hours before the announcement, former chief justice Mahfud MD touted himself as the Widodo's vice-presidential candidate.
The contest, at least in terms of the presidential candidates, is shaping up as a repeat of the 2014 election, when political outsider Widodo defeated Prabowo, who has deep ties to Indonesia's business and military elite.
Since 2015, Ma'ruf, 75, has been serving as the chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI).
Prabowo's candidate for Jakarta governor won the election, which analysts and rights advocates condemned for inflaming sectarian sentiment.
Amin had been a presidential adviser and had served in local and national legislatures in the past. "Because he is a wise religious figure", Widodo said, as quoted by Reuters.
"I think we complete each other, nationalistic and religious". 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.
"He issued fatwas condemning religious and gender minorities like the Ahmadiyah and LGBT individuals at a time they were subject to violent assaults", he said.
Next year's election will be a re-run of the 2014 presidential poll, with former military strongman Prabowo Subianto declaring his candidacy once again.
Meanwhile, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY)'s Democrat Party (PD) organized an "emergency meeting" on Thursday afternoon (09/08).
"We want to be in power on behalf of the people, we want there is no hunger and poor people in Indonesia", Prabowo said after the registration.
It is widely believed that the Democrats wanted Prabowo to pick Yudhoyono's son, US -educated retired army major Agus Harimurti, as his running mate.
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