Indonesia: Jakarta governor, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, is gaining support from undecided voters, following a debate held last week ahead of a gubernatorial election in Indonesia’s capital next month.
Support for the Christian governor, popularly known as “Ahok” dropped significantly after he was accused of blasphemy in October and went on trial in December.
The trial is expected to last for months, which enables Ahok to stand in the election scheduled to take place on Feb. 15.
According to pollster Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting, the Jan. 13 debate has convinced many undecided voters to vote for Ahok as they believe he is the best choice to manage Jakarta and its problems. Voters believe the other candidate Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, eldest son of former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Anies Baswedan, a former education minister, do not have much to offer.
Yohanes Handoyo Budhisedjati, chairman of Vox Point Indonesia, a Catholic political organization, said the debate has helped people see how good Ahok’s political will is.
“People can see what he has done and I believe he will get more votes, despite the blasphemy accusations,” Budhisedjati told ucanews.com on Jan. 16.
In the debate Ahok vowed to continue successful policies undertaken during his first term that included providing better housing for former slum dwellers and tackling corruption.
Ermelinda Tara from St. James Parish in North Jakarta, said the debate proved Ahok was the better candidate. “I believe Ahok will finish what he has started if he is given the chance,” said Tara who added that her home has been flood free since Ahok took office in November 2014.
“The debate strengthened my decision to vote for Ahok,” said Asamanduru, a member of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia. “The blasphemy case will not affect it,” he said.
A second debate will be held on Jan. 27 and the third on Feb. 10, five days before around 7 million voters go to the polls. (source: UCAN)
Muslim encourages Catholics to vote in Indonesia polls
A prominent Muslim intellectual is urging Indonesian Catholics to put prejudices aside and vote in regional elections next month for leaders who can make society a better place for all citizens, regardless of their religious or ethnic backgrounds.
“We have to vote for a brave leader who can make changes in this capital,” Mohammad Qodari, executive director of Indo Barometer, an independent research and survey institute, told hundreds of Catholics at a gathering at Sacred Heart Church in Central Java, on Jan. 15. At the gathering Qodari, who appeared to back Ahok for his reforms, said that Catholics are not only good citizens but also good nation-builders.
Father Guido Suprapto, executive secretary of Indonesian Bishops’ Commission for the Laity, said the bishops’ conference issued a pastoral letter in November last year, encouraging Catholics to participate in the election and even monitor the entire process. Catholics can change society by voting for leaders who understand religious values, take the side of poor people and who love peace and care for the environment, he said. (Source: VR)
Previously considered secular and tolerant, hardliners and persecution against Christians has increased throughout Indonesia, Please pray for our brothers and sisters in the nation.