Jakarta — Political observer Yandi Hermawandi of the Madjid Politika research institution has predicted that the 2019 presidential election will take place more peacefully than the one in 2014. He said the prediction is based on the composition of the vice presidential candidates of the two camps that will compete in the five-yearly presidential race.
Incumbent President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has chosen Muslim cleric Ma`ruf Amin, chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), as his running mate in his bid for re-election in the next presidential election. In the other camp, Prabowo Subianto, who will challenge Jokowi, has appointed Jakarta Deputy Governor, who is also a businessman, Sandiaga Uno, as his vice presidential candidate.
“Looking at the composition, it is clearly seen that there would be a fierce debate on the dualism of Islam, due to what occurred in the run up to the registration deadline yesterday. There was a trade-off between ulemas (grouped in the National Movement to Defend Ulema Fatwa/GNPF), who supported Prabowo, and the ulemas of the nation`s largest Muslim organization (NU), who supported Jokowi,” he said.
He said Muslim scholar Ma`ruf Amin, who is the chairman of MUI, is a factor, which could cool down the heating up of conditions because the people respect ulema. In addition, he said, Prabowo`s choice not to choose a cleric as his vice presidential candidate also supported the absence of divisions in the Islamic community.
If Prabowo had also chosen a vice presidential candidate from the ulema, this would actually trigger an increasingly heated atmosphere and divide the Islamic community. The debate over the differences in Islamic practices that have so far existed will be increasingly sharp. This is because, so far, this problem continues to exist if it is taken to the political stage,” he said.