Jakarta. A proposed coalition of Islamic political parties should back a presidential candidate who prays five times a day at a mosque and will cut short cabinet meetings to lead his ministers in prayer, an official says.
Almuzzammil Yusuf, a senior member of the Prosperous Justice Party, or PKS, said in Jakarta on Monday that a high level of piety should be a “minimal requirement” for any candidate running for the highest office in the Muslim-majority nation.
“The presidential and vice presidential candidates should at the very least pray punctually five times a day at the mosque or pray together with ministers on the sidelines of cabinet meetings,” he said. “That way the people will follow in their example.”
He also said the candidate should be clean and adhere to high moral standards.
The PKS, which in 2009 won the most votes of any Islamic party, suffered a decline in this year’s legislative election, largely due to a massive corruption scandal that has seen its president jailed and which threatens to drag down other senior members of the party.
Outside of a show of piety, Almuzzammil said a presidential candidate from an Islamic coalition should run on three main programs dictated by the Koran: religious programs, food security and public safety.
He said the latter program should include an emphasis on respecting human rights, enforcing the law and upholding justice — notions that PKS stalwart Ahmad Heryawan, the governor of West Java and mooted as a vice presidential candidate, has repeatedly flouted through his hostile policies toward minority religious groups in his province.
The PKS is one of five Islamic parties that contested the April 9 legislative election. With the exception of the PKS, the Islamic parties bucked pre-election predictions to improve on their performance from 2009, taking a combined 31.5 percent of votes, according to quick counts.
With such a large show of support, calls have emerged for the parties to band together to nominate their own presidential ticket to take on the candidates from the nationalist parties.
However, the National Awakening Party, or PKB, the surprise package of the election with 9 percent of votes — the most among the Islamic parties — has played down the notion, saying there is no unifying figure popular enough that the parties can put forward for the July 9 presidential election.
The PKB is believed to be trying to finagle a vice presidential slot for its chairman, Muhaimin Iskandar, on the ticket of Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo, the candidate from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, or PDI-P.
Polls paint Joko, popularly known as Jokowi, as the strong favorite to win the presidency.