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            [post_content] => Bekasi. Governor-elect Anies Baswedan hopes to attract private companies to fund the development of the stadium he promised local football club Persija Jakarta.

"Building a stadium for Persija is one of our top concerns, the design has been there on our website. We'll build it through a mutual partnership between the government and private companies," Anies said while attending the local club's match against Barito Putera of Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan, at the Patriot Candrabhaga Stadium in Bekasi, West Java, on Saturday (22/04).

The Liga 1 fixture match saw Persija Jakarta held to a 1-1 draw.

Anies says he knows that the club's supporters have long waited for a new home ground for Persija.

"We want to work on it. This aspiration is very strong and has for a long time not been realized," the governor-elect said. "We know sport is now part of tourism and entertainment activities."

He believes the project would not only benefit players, but also create new business opportunities and improve the livelihoods of people living in the surrounding area.

Anies said he plans to add several tourism attractions around the stadium, but declined to disclose the exact location of the site.

"The design [of the stadium] is already there, but we cannot share the location [yet]," he said.
            [post_title] => Anies Seeks Public-Private Partnership for New Persija Stadium
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                            [caption] => Jakarta Governor-elect Anies Baswedan, second from right, holds up a Persija Jakarta scarf while accompanied by his deputy, Sandiaga Uno, second from left, during the club's Liga 1 match against Barito Putera at the Patriot Candrabhaga Stadium in Bekasi, West Java, on Saturday (22/04). (Antara Photo/Risky Andrianto)
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                            [title] => Calon Gubernur dan Wakil Gubernur DKI Jakarta, Anies Baswedan (ketiga kanan) dan Sandiaga Uno (kedua kiri) menyapa suporter The Jakmania usai menonton pertandingan Gojek Traveloka Liga 1 Persija Jakarta melawan PS Barito Putera, di Stadion Patriot Candrabh
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            [post_content] => Jakarta. The Great Indonesia Movement Party, or Gerindra, the main backer of Anies Baswedan's run for governorship in Jakarta, is optimistic about its chances of winning the 2019 presidential election after quick count results pointed to a comprehensive win for Anies and running mate Sandiaga Uno.

"Anies's win in Jakarta increases Gerindra's chance to win the next presidential election as well," Gerindra West Java Deputy Chairman Anggawira said on Sunday (23/04), as quoted by Beritasatu.

According to a survey on approval ratings for political parties released on Friday by pollster PolMark Indonesia, Gerindra came second in political electability with 16.1 percent of the respondents saying they would vote for a Gerindra candidate in the 2019 presidential election.

The ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) was slightly ahead in the poll with a rating of 16.9 percent.

Gerindra currently holds 73 out of 560 seats in the House of Representatives (DPR). Anggawira said the PolMark survey shows Gerindra has earned the trust of the public which the party will translate into real political support.

Anggawira is confident Gerindra can double the number of its DPR seats after the 2019 general election.

"The public has seen Gerindra’s commitment to clean politics. There isn’t even one member of parliament from Gerindra who is involved in a corruption case," Anggawira said.

Despite Anggawira's claim, records shows that Gerindra's Jakarta city councilor M. Sanusi was arrested by KPK, Indonesia's antigraft agency, after reportedly receiving a kickback from a property company in the controversial North Jakarta reclamation project.
            [post_title] => After Big Win in Jakarta, Gerindra Targets 2019 Presidential Election
            [post_excerpt] => Following the victory of Anies Baswedan and his running mate Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno in Jakarta's gubernatorial election earlier this week, Great Indonesia Movement Party, or Gerindra, is optimistic about its chances to win the 2019 presidential election.
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                            [title] => Ketua Umum Partai Gerindra Prabowo Subianto (kiri) didampingi pasangan Gubernur dan Wakil Gubernur DKI Jakarta Anies Baswedan (tengah), Sandiaga Uno (kanan) menyampaikan keterangan pers mengenai hasil hitung cepat Pilkada DKI Jakarta putaran kedua di DPP P
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            [post_content] => Jakarta. Investors should look beyond the divisive and religiously charged Jakarta election and take confidence from a peaceful voting day as a sign of stability in the country, officials and business leaders said.

Quick count results show that Anies Baswedan, the candidate backed by Muslim hardliners and conservatives, won the runoff election by a landslide against incumbent Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian of Chinese descent. The latter ran a doomed campaign in the Muslim-majority capital while facing false blasphemy allegations, despite having scored high approval ratings of his performance in office.

"There are many questions about the impact and result of the dramatic election on investment," Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) head Thomas Lembong said on Thursday (20/04).

"I think [the impact on investment] will be positive, because the election took place in an orderly and peaceful manner," he said on the sidelines of The Economist Events' Indonesia Summit in Jakarta, where policy makers, investors, regulators, academics and business leaders gathered to get an update on economic conditions in the country.

Talks at the summit were dominated by the second round of the Jakarta gubernatorial election, which took place just a day before the event.

Prominent business leaders at the summit also expressed optimism in the new leaders' ability to govern Jakarta, where about a sixth of Indonesia's economic output was generated last year.

"The most important thing for the business sector is stability and the fact that yesterday's election ran smoothly is very important," Lippo Group director John Riady said.

However, Shinta Widjaja Kamdani, deputy chairwoman of the Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo), said some foreign investors are concerned about the way sectarian issues played out during the election campaign period.

"They are worried that what happened in Jakarta can be replicated elsewhere and that [the use of issues related to] race and religion can win the election," she said.

Shinta said investors also have many factors to consider that are not related to Wednesday's election and its aftermath, before investing large amounts of money in Indonesia.

The BKPM has set a foreign and local investment target of Rp 679 trillion ($51 billion) for this year and Rp 860 trillion for next year.

Last year, the agency reported that the total value of foreign investment that came into the country amounted to Rp 397 trillion, which was 8.4 percent higher compared with a year earlier. This also exceeded the target of Rp 386 trillion.
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            [post_excerpt] => Investors should look beyond the divisive and religiously charged Jakarta election campaigns and take confidence from a peaceful voting day as a sign of the country stability, official and business leaders said.
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            [post_content] => Jakarta. Incumbent Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama's defeat at the hands of rival candidate Anies Baswedan in Wednesday's (19/04) runoff election raised alarms among many observers that the country's young democracy still has a long way to go in combating religious and ethnic discrimination.

However, the capital was calm in the evening after the nail-biting election, defusing fears among some residents that mass gatherings or rallies would consume city streets during and in the wake of Wednesday's vote. Investors seemed relieved as well, as the country's benchmark stock index dropped only slightly on Thursday, with businessmen observing that risks or uncertainties in Indonesian markets were largely dispelled due to the peaceful election turnout.

Indeed, more relief came the day following the vote, as state prosecutors pushed for reduced charges in a blasphemy case against Jakarta's first ethnic Chinese and Christian leader in the post-Suharto era.

However, rhetoric and methods used by politicians in defeating Ahok have nevertheless raised concerns among local and foreign political observers concerned about the future for democracy in the world's largest Muslim-majority nation.

Stigma

[caption id="attachment_655841" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Three mass rallies against Ahok were led by hardline Muslim groups in the campaign period before Wednesday's (19/04) vote, threatening to erode the country's longstanding tradition of practicing a moderate form of Islam. (Reuters/Beawiharta) Three mass rallies against Ahok were led by hardline Muslim groups in the campaign period before Wednesday's (19/04) vote, threatening to erode the country's longstanding tradition of practicing a moderate form of Islam. (Reuters/Beawiharta)[/caption]

Poet and senior journalist Goenawan Mohamad wrote a comment on his official Facebook account analyzing what the defeat of Ahok  an outspoken governor who often drew ire from his political opponents  could mean for the path ahead.

"Ahok has lost; this has now been settled by the 2017 regional election. All that noise surrounding it will soon become history. Many are relieved — either because Anies has won, or because the campaign, poisoned with hate that shattered many friendships, has finally passed," said the former editor-in-chief of investigative magazine Tempo.

"But I hope one thing will not be forgotten. Ahok has entered the arena bound in fetters and labeled as 'a blasphemer.' He can move and talk, but he is not entirely free. His achievements as the region’s head, which have been acknowledged by many and made him unparalleled, are now almost no longer seen or heard of."

"The use of the label against Ahok is probably the most successful stigmatization technique in the history of Indonesian politics. A stigma derived from slander. He did not insult Islam, but the charge had been continuously repeated. If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes 'the truth,' the Nazi's propaganda chief used to say. We hear it at mosques, in social media, in everyday conversations; the allegation has been turned into a conviction," Goenawan said.

"Now Ahok is tried by the court, charged under the anti-blasphemy law that was produced by the New Order regime — a law with unclear provisions, unclear even on who has the right to represent the religion that had been insulted. As a result of it, Ahok has been treated unjustly in three ways: through slander, by being presumed guilty before the court’s verdict and by being tried under a dubious law."

"It is hypocritical to pretend to recognize this injustice while cheering his immutable political defeat. Ahok has lost, he may even be sentenced in a court process informed by mass pressure. The truth may also lose — as it is wont to do in this 'post-truth' era," Goenawan said.

Identity politics


Concerns over the future of democracy in the Southeast Asian country were shared by foreign observers as well.

Reuters reported on Thursday that international rating agency Fitch said in a statement previous religious tensions during the Jakarta gubernatorial election could resurface in the run-up to the country's next presidential race in 2019.

"The early results of the tense Jakarta elections seem to suggest that religious factors could play an increasingly significant role in future Indonesian elections," the statement said, as cited by Reuters.

Three mass rallies against Ahok were led by hardline Muslim groups in the campaign period before Wednesday's vote, threatening to erode the country's longstanding tradition of practicing a moderate form of Islam.

However, the rating agency still acknowledged Indonesia's recent progress, explaining that the country has made "substantial" strides in improving good governance over the past two decades. The country's democratic electoral processes, the statement said, are still intact.

Still, experts and academics around the world say that religious and ethnic discrimination should be expected to play a greater role in future elections if the government and high-ranking Muslim figures do not take significant steps to promote tolerance.

[caption id="attachment_623603" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Members of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) demonstrate in front of the National Police headquarters in Jakarta in January. (Antara Photo/Reno Esnir) Members of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) demonstrate in front of the National Police headquarters in Jakarta in January. (Antara Photo/Reno Esnir)[/caption]

"Going forward, the politics of religion is going to be a potent force," Keith Loveard, an analyst at Jakarta-based Concord Consulting and an author of books about Indonesian politics, told Reuters in a report on Wednesday.

According to Loveard, some residents may have been reluctant to vote for Ahok due to worries of "five more years of protests on the streets by Muslim hardliners."

Muhammad Najib Azca, a professor of social and political sciences at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, viewed religious and ethnic intolerance as a driving factor in the election's outcome.

"What happened in Jakarta was an anomaly. Ahok and Djarot were unable to translate their high approval rating [...] into real political support," Najib told the Jakarta Globe in a phone interview on Wednesday evening.

"There were variables beyond public approval ratings, including strong undertones of religious-based identity politics," he added.

Najib argued that identity politics has become a main force in driving public opinion, even in the face of successful governance programs directed by Ahok. "This intervening variable has affected voters through a very sophisticated and elaborate political process."

[caption id="attachment_561767" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Children seen resting at a recently developed park meant to provide respite from the hustle and bustle of Jakarta's unrelenting traffic. Ahok's administration plans to approve similar projects before the governor's term ends in October. (Antara Photo/Hafiz Mubarak A.) Children seen resting at a recently developed park meant to provide respite from the hustle and bustle of Jakarta's unrelenting traffic. Ahok's administration plans to approve similar projects before the governor's term ends in October. (Antara Photo/Hafiz Mubarak A.)[/caption]

Ian Wilson, a lecturer in politics and security studies and a Research Fellow at Murdoch University’s Asia Research Center, said – in an article published by newmandala.org – Wednesday's results will most likely have a lasting impact on national politics for years to come.

"Judging from national and international headlines, Jakarta’s gubernatorial election on April 19 represents not just a major turning point for the nation’s capital and city of 12 million, but potentially for the entire country," he wrote.

"The alarmist tone is largely due to the unsettling direction campaigning has taken over the past eight months, that has seen any possible substantive policy debates over how to best tackle Jakarta’s complex infrastructural, economic and social problems subsumed by sectarian identity politics."

Economic inequality

Wilson, whose research touches on the political economy of gangs, organized crime and violence in Indonesia, went on to say that: "While the campaigns present, at one level of analysis, a stark contrast between ‘diversity’ on the one hand and sectarian populism on the other, a shared point of commonality is the respective silence regarding a significant shaping force in Jakarta, and arguably the election: rising levels of economic inequality."

He pointed to data from the country's Bureau of Statistics  which shows a steady increase in levels of economic inequality in Jakarta  that reflects a broader trend that has been sweeping the nation over the past decade.

"The country’s much-heralded economic growth has been marked by growing concentrations of that wealth in the hands of a few, and a stagnation if not deterioration in the standard of living of a vast majority of Indonesians," he said.

Wilson also pointed to a 2017 Oxfam report on the widening wealth gap in Indonesia, in which "inequality has been driven by a combination of ‘market fundamentalism,’ high concentrations of land ownership," and the fact that Indonesia registered the second lowest rate of tax collection in Southeast Asia.

[caption id="attachment_618988" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]A photo showing the residences along Ciliwung riverbank at Kampung Pulo area in East Jakarta on Tuesday (03/01). The Jakarta provincial government and the central government will spend at least Rp 5 trillion ($371 million) on relocating 10,000 local residents who live along the riverbank. (Antara Photo/Reno Esnir) A photo taken Jan. 1 showed the residences along Ciliwung riverbank at Kampung Pulo area in East Jakarta. (Antara Photo/Reno Esnir)[/caption]

"The poor and precarious bear the most drastic and damaging impacts of economic inequality, though in a densely populated megacity like Jakarta, it is felt by all social and economic classes — albeit in often vastly different ways and with a range of social and political consequences," he said.

Wilson continued, "For Jakarta’s upper middle classes the desire for security, lifestyle and convenience — together with the push by developers for profitable all-inclusive developments — has meant increasingly self-imposed spatial separation from other social and economic groups within gated estates, apartments towers, shopping malls and private vehicles."

"Once a city of economically mixed neighborhoods, large parts of the city are spatially divided by class and ethnicity. This can be seen in the city’s north, where remaining kampung sit in uneasy tension alongside luxury apartments and gated communities," Wilson said.

Old political and business elites emerge


For President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, Wednesday's outcome poses a new challenge of rising Islamism and the renewed influence of Indonesia’s old political and business elites in the public sphere, according to a Reuters report on Wednesday.

Many old guard figures have shown support for Anies during the election campaign, including moguls Aburizal Bakrie, Hashim Djojohadikusumo and Hary Tanoesoedibjo and retired general and failed 2014 presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto. All were prominent businessmen or military officers linked to the three-decade authoritarian regime of Suharto before his ouster in 1998.

[caption id="attachment_656128" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]The founder of Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) Prabowo Subianto, second from left, announced the victory of Anies Baswedan-Sandiaga uno pair in Jakarta's gubernatorial race on Wednesday (19/04), based on quick counts from pollsters. Also celebrating the victory, the President of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), second from right, the chairman of the National Mandate Party (PAN) Zulkifli Hasan, right, businessman Aburizal Bakrie, third from right, who is also the chairman of the advisory board of Golkar party. Media mogul Hary Tanoesoedibjo also appears during the declaration. (Antara Photo/Dedi Wijaya) Many old guard figures have shown support for Anies-Sandy during the election campaign, including moguls Aburizal Bakrie, Hashim Djojohadikusumo and Hary Tanoesoedibjo and retired general Prabowo Subianto. (Antara Photo/Dedi Wijaya)[/caption]

Reconciliation

While Jakarta remains hampered by a dizzying array of social and political hurdles, scholar Komaruddin Hidayat, dean of Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University in Banten, Jakarta, called on city residents to eliminate any racial, religious or ethnic intolerance.

"We should eliminate the notion of majority and minority, and the government should establish a way to bridge any gaps through the improvement of people’s welfare," Komaruddin told the Jakarta Globe in a phone interview.

Komaruddin, a widely known liberal Muslim scholar and author of several books on religious diversity, said minority groups in Indonesia have existed long before the country achieved independence in 1945-48 and have worked hard to personify the ideals of the state ideology, Pancasila.

"Therefore, they should be granted equality in our society and government," he said.

Indeed, Ahok is not the first Chinese Christian governor of Jakarta. From 1964-65, Hendrik Hermanus Joel Ngantung, known as Henk Ngatung, served as the capital's chief executive and was instrumental in installing artistic statues and monuments throughout the city as befitted his status as one of the country's leading painters at that time.

Various reports show that ethnic Chinese, who currently comprise about 15 percent of the country's population, have historically fought alongside local freedom fighters, known as pribumi, against the Dutch  Indonesia's colonial masters – and the Japanese. Sadly, their participation in building modern Indonesia has been expunged from the country's historical consciousness.

With additional reporting by Reuters

 

Save
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            [post_excerpt] => Incumbent Jakarta Governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama's defeat at the hands of rival candidate Anies Baswedan in Wednesday's (19/04) run-off election raised alarms among many observers that the country's young democracy still has a ways to go in combating religious and ethnic discrimination.
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            [post_content] => Jakarta. Retired general Prabowo Subianto expressed gratitude to firebrand Muslim cleric Rizieq Shihab for "saving Indonesia's democracy," after Anies Baswedan and his running mate Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno won Jakarta's gubernatorial election on Wednesday (19/04).

Several quick counts from pollsters showed a large-margin win for Anies  backed by the Prabowo-led Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra)  over incumbent Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama in an election marred by religious and ethnic tensions.

In the evening after Wednesday's vote, the Anies-Sandiaga campaign team performed prayers alongside members of the hardline Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and its leader, Rizieq, at the Istiqlal Mosque in Central Jakarta.

"Rizieq and the Muslim community, just like us, have defended the interests of the Indonesian public, upheld justice and saved our democracy and our future," said Prabowo, a failed candidate in the 2014 presidential election.

Anies, a former education minister sacked by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo less than two years after taking office, called on the country's Muslim community to maintain tolerance and respect for the nation's diverse religious and ethnic groups.

"We have to show that the Muslim community is the one who upholds peace and unity," Anies said.

The FPI, notorious for vigilante acts across the archipelago, led several mass demonstrations calling for the removal of Ahok as governor in the run-up to Wednesday's election.

Its members and other hardline Muslim groups in the country claim that Ahok, currently standing trial on blasphemy charges, insulted Islam when he made a comment last year against the use of the Koran for political advantage.
            [post_title] => Prabowo Expresses Gratitude to FPI Leader for 'Saving Indonesia's Democracy'
            [post_excerpt] => Retired general Prabowo Subianto expressed gratitude to firebrand Muslim cleric Rizieq Shihab for "saving Indonesia's democracy" after Anies Baswedan and his deputy Sandiaga Salahuddin Unowon secured Jakarta's gubernatorial election on Wednesday (19/04).
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            [post_content] => Jakarta. Jakarta's governor-elect according to quick count results, Anies Baswedan, met with current governor Basuki "Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama at City Hall on Thursday (20/04) to kickstart the handover of power in the capital.

The first thing on their agenda was the 2018 regional budget for Jakarta.

Anies said finalizing the budget will be one of his main concerns ahead of his inauguration in October.

"There will be changes. We want to make sure the budget that has been prepared by the previous administration can accommodate the programs we promised voters during the election campaign. We'll need time to adjust things. We also want to make sure Jakarta residents stay united under a new leadership," Anies said.

The former education minister said he wanted to make good on his election promises as soon as possible.

Anies also praised Ahok for providing all the details he needed to see in the Jakarta regional budget.

"He was very open. He will meet with our team to talk more things through. He even gave advice on which of our programs would need to be prioritized, and what to prepare from the start," Anies said.

Ahok had asked Anies’s budgeting team to submit their data to City Hall using its open database system.

"It's up to Anies to provide us with the data so they can make adjustments on the regional budget as soon as possible," Ahok told the media.

"We've discussed which programs should be prioritized, so once the data are submitted, Anies can start to follow up on his [election] promises," he added.

Anies met Ahok at City Hall at around 7.30 a.m. on Thursday, before leaving at around 8 a.m.

According to quick count results, Anies and his running mate Sandiaga Uno won by a comprehensive 15 percent to 18 percent margin against Ahok and current deputy governor Djarot Saiful Hidayat.

Watch Indonesia Highlights at 8 p.m. tonight on the Jakarta Globe News Channel and Facebook Live to find out more about Jakarta's new governor-elect Anies Baswedan.
            [post_title] => Anies Meets Ahok at City Hall, Gets Straight to Business
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The long, divisive campaign for governorship of Jakarta is finally over, with results showing a decisive victory for the challenger Anies Baswedan over the controversial incumbent Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama.

The election was the most politically significant regional election in Indonesia's history because it was not just about choosing the chief executive for the city's 10 million citizens.

Rather, it became a referendum on the future of Indonesia's ethno-religious diversity and tolerance after unwanted intervention by a number of radical Islamist groups, most notably the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI).

Blasphemy Campaign Against Ahok

These groups accused Ahok, a Chinese Indonesian who is Christian, of blaspheming last September by mocking a verse from the Koran that allegedly calls for Muslims to reject non-Muslims as their leaders. Ahok criticized unnamed ulema or Muslim clerics for using verse 51 of Surah Al-Maidah that advises Muslims to avoid aligning with Christians and Jews.

The FPI and its allies managed to obtain a fatwa, or religious ruling, from the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) declaring that Ahok was guilty of committing blasphemy against Islam. They then sponsored several anti-Ahok rallies in Jakarta in November, attracting approximately 2.5 million protesters.

Under pressure from these groups, the Indonesian government opened an investigation against Ahok and tried him for blasphemy. The trial was adjourned a week before the election.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="754"]Incumbent Jakarta Governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama gestures inside the courtroom during his blasphemy trial. (Reuters Photo/Dharma Wijayanto) Incumbent Jakarta Governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama gestures inside the courtroom during his blasphemy trial. (Reuters Photo/Dharma Wijayanto)[/caption]

Anies, a very astute politician, quickly capitalized on anti-Ahok accusations, by seeking and receiving an endorsement from FPI leader Habib Rizieq Shihab. He also started to portray himself as an "Islamic candidate" to win the support of Jakarta's Muslims, who comprise 85 percent of registered voters.

The strategy seems to have worked, as an Indo Barometer poll in February indicated more than half of Jakarta's voters would not vote for Ahok because they believed he had committed a blasphemous act against Islam.

They reached this conclusion despite a number of Islamic scholars saying that the Koranic verse in question must be seen in the context of warfare between Muslims and non-Muslims during the early Islamic period. And that it had nothing to do with how Muslims should choose their leader.

The race between the two contenders was very tight, as indicated by the reputable Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting poll, which showed Anies leading Ahok with a margin of 1 percent — 47.9 percent versus 46.9 percent  with up to 5.2 percent of voters still undecided.

The campaign took an ugly turn when an elderly woman, who had voted for Ahok during the first round and subsequently died, was denied a Muslim burial. And an Islamist activist made a Facebook post stating it would be religiously permissible for any women voting for Ahok during the runoff election to be gang raped.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="754"]  A child plays in front of a wall with a slogan 'burn Ahok' in Jakarta. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta) A child plays in front of a wall with a slogan 'burn Ahok' in Jakarta. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta)[/caption]

Police had to tear down a number of banners placed in mosques across Jakarta discouraging their members to vote for Ahok during the runoff.

Implications of the Election Results

The election has serious implications for the future of Indonesian politics. Anies's victory means he is in a stronger position to mount a challenge against President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo in 2019, as a candidate of the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), or with another opposition party.

A young, telegenic politician who has widely touted his Islamic credentials, Anies is perceived by Jokowi as a more formidable opponent than "old guard" elite figures, such as retired Army general Prabowo Subianto and former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who are both widely expected to be contenders during the 2019 presidential election.

But more importantly, Anies's victory is another sign of the growing Islamization of Indonesian politics, which has been on the rise since the country made its democratic transition in 1998.

This phenomenon can be seen throughout Indonesian society, from the promotion of Islamist prayer groups and study circles in public university campuses throughout the country; the proliferation of Indonesian women wearing Islamic veils, or hijabs; and the rapid increase in local regulations restricting alcohol consumption and the rights of religious minorities.

There seems to be an ideological and political convergence between Islamist groups such as FPI an association of approximately 100,000 hardline Islamists with close ties to the Indonesian security apparatus  and Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia. This latter is known for its advocacy for a global caliphate.

Members of both groups are developing a close relationship with the conservative elements of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah, Indonesia's two largest Muslim organisations with generally moderate political leanings. They claim membership by 60 million and 30 million people, respectively.

The MUI fatwa against Ahok was signed by Maaruf Amin, who, apart from being the council's general chairman, is also NU's supreme leader.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="754"]Unofficial results show a decisive victory for Anies Baswedan in the Jakarta gubernatorial election. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta) Unofficial results show a decisive victory for Anies Baswedan in the Jakarta gubernatorial election. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta)[/caption]

The groups have also cooperated to demand the implementation of Sharia regulations by local governments throughout Indonesia. And there are now 442 such regulations in place in over 100 cities and districts.

These regulations require women to wear hijab in public, prohibit the consumption of alcohol and prostitution, and declare a number of Islamic minority sects, such as Ahmadis and Shiites, to be illegal within their respective localities. The groups have also encouraged acts of violence against both minorities over the past decade or so.

Rising Islamism and the renewed prejudice against ethnic and religious minorities pose a danger to the pluralist outlook enshrined in Indonesia’s official founding principles, which are collectively known as Pancasila. Made from the Sanskrit word for "five," panca, and the Javanese for "principles," silaPancasila states: "The one God system [monotheism], just and civilized humanity, the unity of Indonesia, democracy and social justice for all."

These principles have underpinned equality for all Indonesia's ethnic and religious groups since the country's founding in 1945. Indonesian founding fathers who created Pancasila meant to give equal political and economic opportunities to all Indonesians irrespective of their ethnic and religious background.

Unlike Indonesia's neighbor Malaysia, Pancasila grants no special status to Muslims and instead gives official religions status to a number of religions – Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism. It gives them equal legal recognition and grants their members full religious freedom. Most significantly, adherents of all religions are free to run for and occupy any public office.

By creating these accusations against Ahok, the Islamists have refused to recognize the legal rights of Indonesia’s ethnic and religious minorities to run for public office. Ahok's loss means that Indonesia's ethno-religious diversity is the biggest casualty of this highly polarizing election.

Alexander R. Arifianto is a research fellow in the Indonesia program at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University. His views are his own.

The Conversation

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(Antara Photo/M. Agung Rajasa) [created_timestamp] => 1492034702 [copyright] => ANTARA [focal_length] => 200 [iso] => 1000 [shutter_speed] => 0.004 [title] => Moderator debat Ira Koesno (kanan) mengajak pasangan Calon Gubernur dan Wakil Gubernur DKI Jakarta Anies Baswedan (kedua kanan) serta Sandiaga Uno (ketiga kanan) dan pasangan calon Gubernur dan Wakil Gubernur DKI Jakarta Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (kedua kiri) ) [post_id] => 654575 ) ) [7] => stdClass Object ( [ID] => 655924 [post_author] => 222 [post_content] => Jakarta. The thumping win by Anies Baswedan in the bitterly fought election for Jakarta governor signals twin threats to Indonesia’s President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo — from rising Islamism and the renewed clout of Indonesia’s old political and business elites. Anies thanked supporters after taking a decisive lead in the unofficial count on Tuesday afternoon, but not before his political patron, Prabowo Subianto, claimed victory first — thanking the scions of Indonesia’s establishment by his side. "Our focus is social justice, ending inequality and our commitment is to safeguard diversity and unity,” Anies said. The conciliatory tone contrasted with the fractious nature of a campaign that challenged Indonesia’s religious and ethnically tolerant traditions, and comments made by Baswedan on the eve of the election. Baswedan compared the poll to the Battle of Badr, a pivotal fight in the early days of Islam that consolidated the Prophet Muhammad’s power, a win ascribed to divine intervention. Fringe Becomes a Force  The Jakarta election was marked by the blasphemy trial of Anies's rival, Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, who allegedly mocked a verse in the Koran used by his opponents to claim Muslims could not vote for anyone with different religious beliefs. Ahok is a Christian and ethnic Chinese in the world's largest Muslim-majority nation. Huge, well-funded anti-Ahok protests in November and December sunk his high approval ratings. They were organised by hitherto fringe Islamists drawn from violent vigilante groups and Salafists influenced by Saudi Arabia’s puritanical brand of Islam. Conservative clerics took the anti-Purnama message to the mosques throughout the campaign, said Eva Kusuma Sundari a senior official in Widodo’s party, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle. “This is a major defeat for us. The landscape is changing and it’s not favorable to us,” she said. "We have to figure out our own understanding of this political religion without giving up our constitutional and nationalistic approach." Tim Lindsey, an Indonesia analyst from the University of Melbourne, said Islamist groups had “emerged from the fringe to become a force”. “This is a rehearsal for [the 2019 presidential election] and it sends a very clear message that if you play the Islam card it’s going to help you,” he said. “If groups like these can get hundreds of thousands on the streets, you are going to want to use that power.” Slamet Maarif, a spokesman for the Islamic Defenders Front, one of the main forces behind the push to prevent a Christian from leading Indonesia's Muslim majority capital, said the group was already eyeing the 2019 poll. "We will maintain the existing unity of Muslims. And we will prepare Muslim unity for 2019," he told Reuters. Suharto's Elites Jokowi, who grew up in a shack by a river in rural Java and became a successful furniture seller before entering politics, was the insurgent candidate who defeated Prabowo in the 2014 presidential election. Popularly known as Jokowi, he became the first Indonesian from outside the elites to assume the country’s highest office. He was catapulted to national prominence after becoming governor of Jakarta, with Ahok serving as his deputy. His fit-and-start reform agenda has antagonized some in the business establishment who chafe against his calls for more foreign investment and increased competition in some sectors of the economy. Among those standing alongside Anies and Prabowo as they claimed victory were moguls Aburizal Bakrie, Hashim Djojohadikusumo and Hary Tanoesoedibjo. All were prominent businessmen with links to the three-decade authoritarian regime of Suharto before he was ousted from power in 1998 during the Asian financial crisis. Hary, who is President Donald Trump's business partner in two resort developments in Indonesia, once worked for Suharto's son, Bambang Trihatmodjo. Aburizal is a former chairman of the Golkar Party, which Suharto created as the parliamentary rubber stamp for his 32-year hardline rule. His family conglomerate, Bakrie Group, is prominent in the mining industry, oil and gas, and property development. Prabowo, a former general and son-in-law of Suharto, was banned from entering the United States over his alleged human rights abuses as a military commander tasked with disrupting the student protests that eventually toppled Suharto and ushered in Indonesia’s democratic era. Hashim is Prabowo's younger brother. Their father, Sumitro Djojohadikusumo, was the architect of Suharto's economic plans. Considered a spent force after his defeat in 2014, Prabowo now has a platform to raise money and increase his profile ahead of another tilt at the presidency in 2019, said Wimar Witoelar, a political analyst and former presidential spokesman. “The Jakarta government will be a pawn in the political play for 2019,” he said. Additional reporting by Agustinus Da Costa Reuters [post_title] => Jokowi Faces Twin Threats From Jakarta Poll [post_excerpt] => The thumping win by Anies Baswedan in the bitterly fought election for Jakarta governor signals twin threats to Indonesia’s President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo — from rising Islamism and the renewed clout of Indonesia’s old political and business elites. 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(Antara Photo/Widodo S. Jusuf) [created_timestamp] => 1479395132 [copyright] => ANTARA FOTO [focal_length] => 32 [iso] => 200 [shutter_speed] => 0.0025 [title] => Presiden Joko Widodo dan Ketua Umum DPP Partai Gerakan Indonesia Raya Prabowo Subianto (kanan) bergegas seusai memberikan keterangan pers di teras belakang Istana Merdeka, Jakarta, Kamis (17/11) ) [post_id] => 655929 ) ) [8] => stdClass Object ( [ID] => 655176 [post_author] => 294 [post_content] => Jakarta. Celebrities, many of whom have been barracking — either as official supporters or out of their own volition — for Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama or rival Anies Baswedan in the Jakarta gubernatorial election, which Anies won comprehensively, have taken to social media to tell Jakartans to accept the result of Wednesday's (19/04) ballot. The celebs are posting on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, not only to congratulate Anies's supporters but also to console Ahok's. Film director and stand-up comedian Ernest Prakasa, an avid Ahok supporter, often called Ahoker, wrote on Twitter that he is grateful with the result even though his candidate did not win the election. "Let's accept the result [of the election]. This is what democracy is all about. Without democracy, we would not even have had Ahok," he said. Ernest also told his followers on Twitter not to get carried away with slanging match over the governor candidates' religious or ethnic background and to accept the election result with an open heart. The director of "Cek Toko Sebelah," a box office comedy hit that satirizes ethnic Chinese life in Indonesia — Ernest is Chinese-Indonesian — later also tweeted to his stand-up comedian colleague Pandji Pragiwaksono, who became one of Anies's spokesmen during the election campaign, congratulating him for his boss's win. [post_title] => Ahoker and Comedian Ernest Prakasa Tells Jakarta Residents to Unite After Governor's Shock Election Loss [post_excerpt] => Stand-up comedian Ernest Prakasa congratulates Anies-Sandi supporters for today's winning on his Twitter account. 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