Indonesian president picks cleric as running mate in 2019 - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Indonesian president picks cleric as running mate in 2019

(AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana). Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, center left, and his running mate Ma'ruf Amin, center right, greet their supporters prior to formal registration as candidates for the 2019 presidential election in Jakarta, Indonesi... (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana). Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, center left, and his running mate Ma'ruf Amin, center right, greet their supporters prior to formal registration as candidates for the 2019 presidential election in Jakarta, Indonesi...
(AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana). Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, center left, and his running mate Ma'ruf Amin, center right, walk together prior to formal registration as candidates for the 2019 presidential election in Jakarta, Indonesia. Friday... (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana). Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, center left, and his running mate Ma'ruf Amin, center right, walk together prior to formal registration as candidates for the 2019 presidential election in Jakarta, Indonesia. Friday...
(AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana). Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, center left, speaks as his running mate Ma'ruf Amin, center right, listens prior to formal registration as candidates for the 2019 presidential election in Jakarta, Indonesia. Friday... (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana). Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, center left, speaks as his running mate Ma'ruf Amin, center right, listens prior to formal registration as candidates for the 2019 presidential election in Jakarta, Indonesia. Friday...
(AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana). Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, center left, and his running mate Ma'ruf Amin, center right, greet their supporters prior to formal registration as candidates for the 2019 presidential election in Jakarta, Indonesi... (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana). Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, center left, and his running mate Ma'ruf Amin, center right, greet their supporters prior to formal registration as candidates for the 2019 presidential election in Jakarta, Indonesi...

By STEPHEN WRIGHT
Associated Press

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) - The battle lines for Indonesia's 2019 presidential election were drawn Friday as the incumbent Joko "Jokowi" Widodo formally registered as a candidate after choosing a conservative Islamic cleric as his running mate.

Jokowi, the first Indonesian president from outside the military and political elite, announced his vice-presidential candidate, Ma'ruf Amin, on Thursday after weeks of fevered speculation in local media. Jokowi's pick has become bigger news in Indonesia, the world's third-largest democracy, than an earthquake on the island of Lombok that killed more than 300 people.

The decision disappointed liberals but analysts say it shores up Jokowi's position among conservative Muslims who demonstrated their political power last year with the ouster of Jakarta's minority Christian governor, a Jokowi ally, who was later imprisoned for blasphemy. Attacking the popular Jokowi as insufficiently religious is one of the few cards his opponents have.

Amin, 75, heads the influential Indonesian Ulema Council that issues fatwas, or religious edicts, and the advisory council of Nahdlatul Ulama, the world's largest Muslim organization. He was one of the clerics who galvanized street protests of hundreds of thousands against the Jakarta governor, Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, for his alleged blasphemy and has a long record of supporting Shariah law and railing against homosexuality, secularism, liberalism and minority sects within Islam.

Indonesia and neighboring Malaysia, both Muslim-majority nations, have become important if sometimes unpredictable bastions of democracy in Southeast Asia, a region of more than 600 million people where authoritarian rule has been the norm. Elections in Malaysia in May ended the 60-year domination of the Malay coalition, and Indonesia has established a two-decade track record of free and largely peaceful elections since the fall of dictator Suharto in 1998.

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

The son of a carpenter, Jokowi rose from political obscurity as mayor of the central Javanese city of Solo to become governor of Jakarta and then president in 2014.

Upgrading Indonesia's creaking infrastructure has been the signature policy of his first term. Much of it has been a delicate political dance, managing the demands of his moderate base, increasingly powerful Islamic conservatives, a complicated parliamentary coalition and the military, which has never completely accepted its diminished role following the end of the Suharto dictatorship.

He has frequently disappointed his moderate supporters but they're unlikely to turn to Jokowi's opponent, nationalist politician and former general Prabowo Subianto, who lost to Jokowi in 2014. He is running with businessman and deputy Jakarta governor Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno. Both officially registered as candidates after Friday prayers.

"Jokowi has picked an Islamist running mate to shore up his conservative and religious flank in a contest against the ultra-nationalist Prabowo, who in the past has worked closely with hard-line Islamists to undermine the president," said Eurasia Group analyst Peter Mumford in a report.

The selection of Amin further entrenches the mixing of religion and politics in Indonesia, he said, but provides a "very strong shield against identity-politics attacks aimed at Jokowi, who is often accused by the opposition of being insufficiently Muslim and too pro-minority."

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. Human rights groups allege he led a 1983 massacre in East Timor in which more than 300 people were killed.

"Any change of government, from village and district chiefs and governor and president, must run safely, peacefully and honestly. Whatever the people's decision, we have to respect it," Subianto said.

"We just want to be in power with the permission of the Indonesian people. We want to be dedicated so that there will be no more hungry people, no more poor people in Indonesia and justice must be felt by all Indonesian people," he said.

There was a celebratory atmosphere and snarled traffic outside the election commission in central Jakarta as the candidates arrived. After registering, Jokowi praised his opponents.

"Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Uno are the best sons of the nation like me and Mr. Ma'ruf Amin. They want to struggle for our beloved nation," he said.

The 2014 presidential election was marred by dirty campaigning and wild internet rumors that Jokowi was a secret communist and of Chinese background, accusations often used in Indonesia to discredit or intimidate political opponents.

Prabowo testily refused to accept the election results and withdrew just hours before the announcement of official results.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • NationalMore>>

  • Church group's opposition stuns advocates of 'tort reform'

    Church group's opposition stuns advocates of 'tort reform'

    Saturday, August 18 2018 9:15 AM EDT2018-08-18 13:15:39 GMT
    Sunday, August 19 2018 3:17 AM EDT2018-08-19 07:17:39 GMT
    (AP Photo/Andrew Demillo). In this July 26, 2018 photo, an information booklet about a "tort reform" measure appearing on Arkansas' ballot sits on a table at a breakfast meeting of pastors in Little Rock, Arkansas. The Family Council Action Committee, ...(AP Photo/Andrew Demillo). In this July 26, 2018 photo, an information booklet about a "tort reform" measure appearing on Arkansas' ballot sits on a table at a breakfast meeting of pastors in Little Rock, Arkansas. The Family Council Action Committee, ...
    A so-called tort reform proposal on Arkansas' ballot that expected little trouble winning passage in deeply red Arkansas is running into a surprising obstacle from a reliable conservative ally.More >>
    A so-called tort reform proposal on Arkansas' ballot that expected little trouble winning passage in deeply red Arkansas is running into a surprising obstacle from a reliable conservative ally.More >>
  • Republican insurgent gives Wyoming Senate incumbent a fight

    Republican insurgent gives Wyoming Senate incumbent a fight

    Saturday, August 18 2018 11:46 AM EDT2018-08-18 15:46:43 GMT
    Saturday, August 18 2018 11:48 PM EDT2018-08-19 03:48:02 GMT
    (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, file). FILE - In this March 20, 2018 file photo, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., right speaks with Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, after a Republican policy luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington.  Dave Dodson, a political newcomer an...(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, file). FILE - In this March 20, 2018 file photo, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., right speaks with Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, after a Republican policy luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington. Dave Dodson, a political newcomer an...
    Wealthy businessman and political outsider Dave Dodson takes on low-key incumbent Sen. John Barrasso in Wyoming Republican primary.More >>
    Wealthy businessman and political outsider Dave Dodson takes on low-key incumbent Sen. John Barrasso in Wyoming Republican primary.More >>
  • Cowboy turned lawmaker hopes to be South Dakota governor

    Cowboy turned lawmaker hopes to be South Dakota governor

    Saturday, August 18 2018 11:21 AM EDT2018-08-18 15:21:56 GMT
    Saturday, August 18 2018 11:47 PM EDT2018-08-19 03:47:43 GMT
    (AP Photo/James Nord). In this Aug. 10, 2018, photo, Democratic governor candidate Billie Sutton campaigns at a fair in Sioux Falls, S.D. Sutton is seeking to become the first Democrat elected South Dakota governor in over four decades.(AP Photo/James Nord). In this Aug. 10, 2018, photo, Democratic governor candidate Billie Sutton campaigns at a fair in Sioux Falls, S.D. Sutton is seeking to become the first Democrat elected South Dakota governor in over four decades.
    Billie Sutton planned to be a world champion saddle bronc rider, but a rodeo accident that claimed his career and ability to walk led to politics _ and he's giving Democrats hopes of capturing South Dakota governor...More >>
    Billie Sutton planned to be a world champion saddle bronc rider, but a rodeo accident that claimed his career and ability to walk led to politics _ and he's giving Democrats hopes of capturing South Dakota governor for the first time in over four decades.More >>
Powered by Frankly