Indonesian campaigner hopes for peaceful elections

Voting in more than 100 areas to take place on Wednesday

Indonesian campaigner hopes for peaceful elections

World Bulletin / News Desk

A Muslim campaigner in Indonesia’s upcoming regional elections has said he hopes the “celebration of democracy” will be peaceful.

Indonesia will hold polls in more than 100 areas across the populous Muslim country on Wednesday, with fierce competition for the Jakarta governor’s post.

Nahdlatul Ulama Zuhairi Misrawi, a member of country's biggest Muslim organization, told Anadolu Agency the world would see the course of democracy in Indonesia, where a Christian-Chinese minority member is competing against a Muslim candidate for prestigious post of Jakarta governor.

"Indonesia has become one barometer of democracy in the Islamic world, so I hope the five-year celebration of democracy can be held safely and peacefully," said Misrawi.

The incumbent, Basuki Tjahaya Purnama, known as Ahok, faces two Muslim contenders -- Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, the son of former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and former education minister Anies Baswedan.

Ahok is still allowed to fight the election despite facing trial on charges of insulting the Muslim holy book, the Quran, in a speech at the end of September.

Thousands of hardliners marched in the capital city’s streets in several demonstrations over the past three months, urging police to arrest Ahok.

On Saturday, thousands of Muslims gathered at Istiqlal Mosque in the city where clerics urged the assembly to only vote for Muslims in the election.

Misrawi said Jakarta gubernatorial elections have given rise to public debate about whether it is allowed or not to choose non-Muslims as a leader. Nevertheless, he believes people will choose the Jakarta governor based on "competence, integrity and track record".

Jakarta Police Chief Inspector General Muhammad Iriawan told Anadolu Agency his officers were on high alert ahead of the elections, and would deploy 28,000 security force personnel across polling stations in Jakarta.

Iriawan said his officers would crack down upon any party forcing voters to back a particular candidate.

Citizens will begin to queue at polling stations on Wednesday morning.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 14 Şubat 2017, 13:51