Indonesian Muslim candidate wins Jakarta election - pollsters

Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:39am GMT
 

By Agustinus Beo Da Costa and Fergus Jensen

JAKARTA (Reuters) - A former Indonesian education minister won the race for Jakarta governor on Wednesday after a polarising campaign that cast a shadow over Indonesia's reputation for practicing a tolerant form of Islam.

Anies Baswedan won with 58 percent of the votes versus 42 percent for Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, known by his Chinese nickname as "Ahok", based on 100 percent of the votes in an unofficial "quick count" by Indikator Politik. Other pollsters showed similar results.

The national elections commission will announce official results in early May.

The turbulent campaign featured mass rallies led by a hardline Islamist movement, which has strengthened in recent years in a country long dominated by a moderate form of Islam. More than 80 percent of Indonesia's population professes Islam.

"Going forward, the politics of religion is going to be a potent force," said Keith Loveard, an analyst at Jakarta-based Concord Consulting and an author of books about Indonesian politics.

Baswedan's huge margin of victory was surprising since opinion polls in the run-up to the election had pointed to a dead-heat. Purnama won the first round of voting for governor in February in a three-way race.

Indonesian social media users likened the election outcome to the shock results of the U.S. presidential vote and the Brexit vote of last year.

One Twitter user, @fuadhn, said Indonesians "can feel what US and British citizens feel now. Welcome populism..."   Continued...

Candidate Anies Baswedan casts his vote along his wife Fery Farhati Ganis (L) and daughter Mutiara Annisa in the Jakarta governor election in South Jakarta, Indonesia April 19, 2017. REUTERS/Beawiharta
 
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