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Joko Widodo picks cleric as VP candidate

12 August 2018

Jokowi's pick has become bigger news in Indonesia, the world's third-largest democracy, than an quake on the island of Lombok that killed more than 300 people.

"The moment that opinion was released, that really saw huge mobilisation within the conservative Islamic community against the governor". Amin is now Chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council (Majelis Ulama Indonesia) as well as Chairman of the advisory council of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the world's largest Islamic organization.

"Democracy is not war, democracy is not hostility, but is a contest of ideas, track record and achievements", Jokowi said.

He has frequently disappointed his moderate supporters but they're unlikely to turn to Jokowi's opponent, nationalist politician and former general Prabowo Subianto, who lost to Jokowi in 2014.

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His rival in what is expected to be a two-horse race is former general Prabowo Subianto, who is teaming up with Jakarta's deputy governor, Sandiaga Uno, a wealthy businessman and fellow party stalwart.

Razor wire, along with dozens of police and secret service officers, held back jubilant crowds, as President "Jokowi" officially registered as a candidate for re-election.

President Joko Widodo, member of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, is seeking re-election, and to achieve this he elected Muslim leader Ma'ruf Amin, head of the nation's influential council of clerics, as his running mate.

The selection of Amin further entrenches the mixing of religion and politics in Indonesia, he said, but provides a "very strong shield against identity-politics attacks aimed at Jokowi, who is often accused by the opposition of being insufficiently Muslim and too pro-minority".

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Prabowo was a top military figure in the chaotic months before dictator Suharto was toppled by student protests in 1998.

In December past year, Ma'ruf said he regretted the Constitutional Court's decision to reject a petition to criminalise gay sex, calling for a "stern prohibition" of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender activities.

"It's clear the president wants to play safe and lock in the conservative Muslim vote but at the same time he is disappointing a lot of people who were looking for someone a little more inspiring", Keith Loveard, senior analyst at Jakarta-based Concord Consulting, told BenarNews.

There was a celebratory atmosphere and snarled traffic outside the election commission in central Jakarta as the candidates arrived.

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Gerindra Party leader Prabowo Subianto waves to reporters as he arrives for a meeting with former Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the Yudhoyono's residence in Jakarta, Indonesia August 9, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto.

Joko Widodo picks cleric as VP candidate