The gubernatorial election of Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, is expected to go to into a run-off election on April 19th after no candidate secured the required 50% of votes necessary to win.
Unofficial counts show incumbent governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama securing only 43% of the vote after being put on trial for blasphemy, and he only leads his Islamic conservative challenger Anies Rasyid Baswedan by 3%. Full official results will not be released until some time later this month.
Third-candidate voters will have the biggest say in the eventual result. Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, also a Muslim, trailed in third place with roughly 17% of the vote. If his voters choose a candidate on mainly religious principles, Baswedan would likely win most of this portion of the electorate.
This vote is a strong showing for religious freedom. Despite being on trial for blasphemy in a country that is 85% Muslim and has strict blasphemy laws, Purnama, a Christian, was still able to gain a plurality of the vote. This is indicative that a large chunk of the population is willing to vote for a politician of a different religious persuasion, even one who is currently on trial.
Pro-Muslim sentiment still runs high in the opposition, however. The BBC reported that in one polling station in Jakarta on election day, “each time a vote for Baswedan was counted his supporters there cried out ‘Allahu Akbar’ or ‘God is greatest.'” Baswedan has actively pursued the Muslim and conservative vote.
A run-off election that prolongs the decision for two more months is likely to heighten religious tensions further, as there have been many protests since Purnama was accused of blasphemy, some of which turned violent and had to be quashed by law enforcement.
Being Libertarian has previously reported on this election, here. Stay tuned for updates on this developing story.
Photo Credit: AFP
This post was written by Nicholas Amato.
The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.