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» 07/12/2012
INDONESIA
A Muslim and two Christians lead in Jakarta politics
by Mathias Hariyadi
Solo Mayor Joko Widodo wins first round in Jakarta's gubernatorial elections. Backed by Islamist parties and President Yudhoyono's Democratic Party, the outgoing office holder suffers a major loss. Solo Deputy Mayor Hadi Rudyatmo, a Catholic, and Basuki Thahaja Orunama, a Sin-Indonesian Christian, play a key rule in Widido's win. All three are known for their work against poverty and corruption.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Election for Jakarta's governor has brought new faces to the fore. Causing a major surprise, the mayor of Solo (Central Java), Joko Widodo, won the first round. Known by his nickname Jokowi, Widido, a Muslim and a member of the nationalist Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle (PDIP), came out nine points ahead of outgoing Governor Fauzi Bowo, as well as Islamist candidates, former military and noted business people.

Widido is backed by Solo's deputy mayor, Francis Xavier Hadi Rudyatmo, a practicing Catholic, and Basuki Thahaja Orunama (aka Ahok), a Sino-Indonesian Christian member of the nationalist Golkar party, famous for winning in regional elections held in East Belitung Regency (Sumatra), an Islamist stronghold.

Over the years, Jokowi has been influenced by his relations with the two Christians. All three have gained fame for focusing on their communities' problems, especially corruption, which has dropped significantly in their respective regions.

As Solo mayor, Jokowi gave up his salary and privileges to fund anti-poverty programmes run by the city. He concentrated his efforts on improving living conditions for the weakest groups in society like factory workers, street vendors and rickshaw drivers.

His nation-wide recognition came after his deputy, Rudyatmo, led demonstrations against higher fuel prices that brought the capital to a standstill. Dubbed "disobedient", the Catholic political leader saw his popularity in Java jump with voters eventually backing the candidate he supported.

In Indonesia, the gubernatorial vote in Jakarta is second in terms of importance only to the presidential election. Anyone who leads the capital can project his status and influence across the country.

Jokowi's first-round victory is a sign that President Yudhoyono's Democratic Party (PKS), which backs Fauzi Bowo, is in trouble.

In recent months, the president's party has been weakened by a series of corruption cases involving PKS lawmakers and party officials. This has translated in a loss of support in opinion polls.

But that is not the only new factor. Islamist parties have also seen their support decline.

After dominating the capital's politics for years, they suffered their first major defeat in 2009, won by the PKS, Golkar and PDIP.

The rise of new leaders like Jokowi, Ahok and Rudyatmo is sign, experts believe, that Java voters are more influenced by the media and reporting on politicians' work than by mosques, ethnic-religious identity or powerful groups.


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See also
09/10/2012 INDONESIA
Fears of new attacks rise as Islamic terrorism targets Jakarta
by Mathias Hariyadi
06/14/2006 INDONESIA
Abu Bakar Baasyir free to fight for Sharia
03/21/2011 INDONESIA
Explosive books to set up an Islamic state in Indonesia
by Mathias Hariyadi
02/06/2013 INDONESIA
Moderate Muslims and Islamists clash over Chinese New Year
by Mathias Hariyadi
09/16/2004 INDONESIA
Suspects in Australian Embassy blast named
by Mathias Hariyadi

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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