Separation of State & Mosque in Indonesia

Jakarta election results in vote of confidence for pluralism

Source: Commongroundnews; by Jennie Bev

In September, Jakarta had its local elections for governor and vice governor, an historic moment as voters elected a non-Muslim of Chinese ethnicity as vice governor for the first time, indicating that Jakartans may be growing more accepting of pluralism.

The winning pair was Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, the former mayor of the town of Solo, for governor and Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, the former regency head of East Belitung, for vice governor. Both Jokowi and Ahok have developed reputations for integrity and good governance in previous elected positions in other regions.

The Jokowi-Ahok pair, symbolising strong teamwork and inter-ethnic collaboration at the gubernatorial level, is a first in Jakarta’s politics. That the pair won with 53 per cent of the votes was a surprise to many Indonesians, and suggests that voters valued experience over racial or religious identity.

In Indonesia, some groups have been pushing for the integration of mosque and state, such as Hizb-ut Tahrir Indonesia, which actively calls for the implementation of sharia, or Islamic principles, and for an Islamic state. Groups like these have received a great deal of attention in international media. However Indonesian Muslims don’t have a tradition of voting for Islamic parties.

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Categories: Asia, Indonesia

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