Islamists in Indonesian elections… how are their votes distributed and how are their parties performing?

Jakarta- The Indonesian region is witnessing tension between members and supporters to win the votes of followers of the Islamic movements, who number in the millions, in preparation for the legislative and presidential election battle on February 14, where negotiations and coalition formation take place. It's getting louder.

During previous legislative elections, regardless of their leanings, the percentage of votes received by Islamic parties was in the 1955 elections (40.83%), in the 1999 elections (36.78%), in the 2004 elections (38.35%), and ( 28.62%). in the 2009 election, (31.41%) in the 2014 election, and (30.05%) in the last 2019 election.

The Justice and Welfare Party is one of the parties that is most supportive of Change Alliance candidate Anies Baswedan, especially because it is in line with the opposition party's position over the past nine years of current President Joko Widodo's rule.  Parties' pages – media are allowed to use them
Various coalitions and candidates compete to win the votes of followers of Islamic movements in Indonesia (party page)

three alliances

Islamic parties or parties with a religious historical background were distributed among the three coalitions formed to participate in the legislative and presidential elections. The “Unity for Change” coalition, which espouses a critical discourse and seeks economic, legal, political and service reforms, is nominated by Anies Baswedan, former governor of the Indonesian capital Jakarta.

This coalition witnesses the presence of three Islamic parties: that:

  • The opposition Justice and Welfare Party, which remained in opposition during the rule of current President Joko Widodo, has its own movement and intellectual movement that began to emerge in the 1990s.
  • In addition to the “Nahdat al-Watan Party”, which represents important sectors of the Nahdat al-Ulama movement, and is the party for which the head of the party, Abdul-Muhaimin Iskandar, is running for vice president. With Anees Baswedan.
  • A third, smaller Islamic party is the newly founded “Ummah” party, and its message is critical of the current situation, and it is linked to the personality of the Chairman of the People's Consultative Council and former Chairman of the Muhammadiyah Association, Amin al-Ma'am. rich.

The above three parties are in alliance with the National Democratic Party, led by Surya Baloh, who was part of the ruling coalition but disagreed with its president at the time of presidential nomination.

As for the Indonesia Progress Alliance, it includes the national “Amanah” party, historically linked to the Muhammadiyah Association, but no longer represented by it, and became a pragmatic party open to different trends. and the “Indonesian People's Wave” party which was recently founded by well-known politicians Anis Mataka and Fakhri Hamzah and is participating in the elections for the first time. and the “Crescent and Star” party, a historic party with limited attendance.

Each coalition aspires to create a party with a religious character to capture the votes of conservatives, traditionalists and Islamists, whether in rural areas or cities, until a third coalition of the left-wing nationalist-leaning Struggle for Democracy Party is formed. go. Former President Megawati Soekarnoputri.

Along with Gangar Pranowo, the Governor of Central Java, Mohammad Mahfud, former President of the Constitutional Court, who is from the Nahdlatul Ulama movement, was nominated for the presidency, in addition to the presence of the United Development Party, which is an old party traditional. The religious party was, and remains, the sole umbrella for conservative and religious voices during the era of former President Suharto, but it is suffering. There is aging and absence in favor of the presence of many other Islamic parties since 1998.

From the distribution of these parties it is clear that there are no longer pure coalitions of nationalist, leftist or secular movements and others with a religious or Islamic character, especially with the organization of legislative and presidential elections at the same time.

Each movement needs the votes of others to be successful in presidential elections, which forces presidential candidates and their allies to form coalitions with different orientations and positions of influence, meaning that Islamist votes in Will be distributed according to the distribution of parties and trends of prominent Islamic figures who support this or that candidate.

The Justice and Welfare Party is one of the parties that is most supportive of Change Alliance candidate Anies Baswedan, especially because it is in line with the opposition party's position during the last nine years of current President Joko Widodo's rule.  Parties' pages – media are allowed to use them
The fall of (ideology) and the rise of (pragmatism) in the behavior of Indonesian political parties (party page)

Disunity among Islamists

Dr. Farman Noor, director of the Center for Policy Research at the Indonesian Research and Innovation Authority, said, “Like previous elections, the votes of followers of the largest Islamic community associations Muhammadiyah Association and Nahdlatul Ulama were attracted by various coalitions and candidates and were expected to win.” Attempted,” alluding to the competition between some of the leaders of the same movement themselves, as was the case with the Nahdlatul Ulama, some of whom are attempting to direct their followers… towards specific filters.

In his interview with Al Jazeera Net, Farman said that candidates went to religious institutions to win the votes of their disciples and sheikhs, but it is difficult for a particular candidate to win all the votes of the followers of Nahdlat al-Ulama, like the sheikhs. . The political orientations of Nahda and their disciples differ, and Ennahda's votes have always been shared by different parties since the presidential era. Suharto is the first person ever.

As for the second largest Islamic association, the Muhammadiyah Association, it has not clearly declared any position in support of any party or any one candidate. This happens in the absence of a candidate for the post of President or Vice-President who is a graduate from Muhammadiyah. , meaning that its followers' votes can be shared by multiple parties. Among them are: Justice and Welfare, the National Secretariat, the United Development Party, and the Ummah Party, in whose founding people from the recent Muhammadiyah movement participated.

This year's elections saw a notable rapprochement between the Justice and Welfare Party movement and the movement with the political front of the Nahdalat al-Ulama Association, represented by the Nahdalat al-Watan party, which joined with two other parties to form the Change Alliance. Was in their alliance.  ,  From the parties' pages – the media are allowed to use them.
Competition between coalitions and candidates to win the votes of Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah followers (party page)

more practical

However the Muhammadiyah people participated in the establishment of the “National Amanah” party in 1998 based on a recommendation issued at the “Enlightened Muhammadiyah” Council meeting at that time, while maintaining the Muhammadiyah as an independent community organization, and It wasn't changed into one. The leaders of the political party, the National Amanah Party, today do not define themselves as a party of Muhammadiyah, and have become a very open party.

In the opinion of Dr. Farman Noor, he said that Indonesian parties, including religious parties, have become “more flexible and pragmatic”, adding that “Islamic parties want to win a share of the nationalist vote, while nationalist parties seek to win a share of the nationalist vote.” Want to get closer to.” In fact, nationalist parties no longer talk about secularism, but instead describe it as religious nationalism.

Farman Noor views this situation as “somewhat positive for democracy, because there is some flexibility in political behaviour, and there is an effort by each party to understand the other and overcome differences, and this is a good thing for solidarity in a pluralistic country.” That's fine, but what is worrying is that if partisanship is loose… lack of ideology can lead to pragmatism, and if not rationalized, we can have a lack of morality, as we have today. “

However, Abdul Muhaymin Iskandar, the vice-presidential candidate in the Change Alliance along with Anis Baswedan, heads the Nahdat al-Watan party, the most representative party of Nahdlatul Ulama, there have been persistent efforts aimed at dividing Ennahda's votes. .  Abd al-Muhaymin not uniting them behind Iskandar.  From the pages of the parties – the media are allowed to use them.
Indonesian parties, including religious parties, are more flexible and pragmatic in attempting to win votes from different factions (Party Page)

Non-identical “agendas”.

Khair al-Salim bin Sabri, director of the Center for Islamic and Social Studies in the Jog Jakarta area in the center of the Indonesian island of Java, believes there is no unified political agenda among Islamic voters, as some of them are linked to groups. , and are not affiliated with any other movement.

He says that due to their large numbers, the political agendas of Islamic community organizations vary internally. In addition to Muhammadiyah and Ennahda, there are several other organizations. Such as the Islamic Union, Al-Khairat, Al-Irshad, Renaissance of the Nation, Al-Wasila, Islamic Unity, Guidance of God and others, whose history spans decades.

Ben Sabri said that political issues in the Islamic community have always been changing from time to time, but today there is no Islamic political agenda about which any specific presidential candidate speaks clearly, and in his opinion, “this There is no official candidate for.” The President, or his deputy, who has a clear political discourse regarding Islam. Most of the discourses relate to issues of democracy and the general public.

As Ben Sabri details, “Political discussion related to the Islamization of the state or Sharia law is almost absent from the speeches of candidates for legislative councils, including candidates from the Justice and People's Wave parties and other Islamist parties. They understand that in order to win votes This discussion will not be in their interest.

He concluded his speech by saying, “We have seen that the political views of Islamic politicians have become more fluid, but that does not mean that this agenda has completely disappeared, because the trends toward those views are still also exists.”

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