Why the Jakarta election could change the face of Indonesia

(CNN)It’s the vote that could change Indonesia.

The country’s capital Jakarta goes to the polls on Wednesday, February 15, to elect a new governor.
At stake is more than just who governs the sprawling, chaotic metropolis of 30 million people.
The contest between Chinese Christian incumbent, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, commonly known as Ahok, and his two Muslim opponents has raised questions over whether Indonesia, the largest Muslim nation on earth, will remain a moderate Muslim society.
It could even determine who will be the next President of Indonesia after the 2019 national election.
A result won’t be known for two weeks and if no one wins a majority, a second round of voting will take place on April 19.
“If (incumbent) Ahok was to lose, other than politicians using religion as a tool, Islamists will use it to change Islam into Indonesia to their own meaning, that isn’t Indonesian,” Center for Strategic and International Studies Indonesia researcher Tobias Basuki told CNN.
“They will gain an upper hand. (This) will be the first litmus test.”


But a large number of people still do not support the Christian Chinese governor, with some saying their religion must be “defended”.
“I am Muslim and I will only accept Muslims as my leaders,” Jakarta Islamic Center voluneer Suci told CNN.
Whatever the result, Fealy said Ahok will have to bear some of the blame himself for his brash, confrontational style of governing.
“He’s a very combative, outspoken, reckless kind of character who has achieved a lot for Jakarta, but he’s a character who has created a lot of antipathy towards him,” he said.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/14/asia/jakarta-governor-election-explainer/index.html


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