Jakarta Voters Should Discard Identity Politics: Setara Institute

Indonesia's national human rights body said the archipelago is facing a "serious problem" from rising extremism among many of its residents. (Reuters Photo/Darren Whiteside)

By : Sheany | on 11:30 PM April 17, 2017
Category : News, Politics

Jakarta. Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace calls on Jakarta residents to be independent as voters and ignore all forms of identity politics in the gubernatorial election.

Ahead of Wednesday's (19/04) poll, the non-governmental organization, which offers research and advocacy on democracy, human rights and political freedom, said that the government, electoral bodies, law enforcers, religious leaders and public figures, as well as the gubernatorial candidates themselves and Jakarta voters need to remember that the election should proceed in accordance with Indonesia's values of pluralism, peace and tolerance.

"The decision for whom one should vote ought to be based on the candidates' achievements, performance and leadership qualities," the statement said on Monday.

"Head-to-head [poll results] in the runoff competition between Ahok-Djarot [Basuki Tjahaja Purnama and Djarot Saiful Hidayat] and Anies-Sandiaga [Anies Baswedan and Sandiaga Uno] show that our democracy remains symbolic, without substantial democratic values" Setara Institute chairman Hendardi said in the statement.

Hendardi also referred to the election campaign, which has led to heightened religious tensions.

Over the past six months, incumbent Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama — a Christian of Chinese descent — has been subject to multiple racial and religiously motivated discrimination.

Even his running mate, who as a Muslim Javanese is member of the majority, on Friday (14/04) was expelled from Al-Atiq Mosque in Tebet, South Jakarta.

These attacks, however, according to Hendardi, may increase Ahok-Djarot's electability by attracting public sympathy.

In contrast, Anies-Sandiaga have not been experienced "attacks based on identity politics," he said.

"Because of their affiliation with intolerant groups, they are perceived as opponents of pluralism and supporters of intolerant movements, which leads to presumptions that their politics would have a religious basis," Hendardi said.

The Setara chairman also expressed his hope that the upcoming election will unfold as a peaceful celebration of democracy.

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