(AsiaNews) - A moderate Muslim and an ethnic Chinese Christian won the runoff vote
for the Jakarta gubernatorial election. According to the official press release
of the Election Commission, challengers Joko Widodo and his deputy Basuki
Tjahaja Purnama beat outgoing Governor Fauzi "Foke" Bowo and his
deputy Nachrowi Ramli.
On 7 October, 'Jokowi
and Ahok,' as the duo is called, will start to run the Special Capital
Territory of Jakarta, capital of the largest Muslim nation in the world. Indonesian
Muslim fundamentalists announced their intention to fight the new leaders "because
they do not express Islam".
Rhoma Irama, a
famous Indonesian singer, is among the extremist critics of the new
administration. From the pages of Voice
of Islam, he said that the Jokowi-Ahok victory is a bad and dark day for
the entire nation, especially since the election was fought over nationalism
and religion. The outgoing governor and his deputy governor ran in fact as strict
Muslims. For Rhoma, the result is a "political disaster' not only for the
people of Jakarta but also for all Indonesians.
racist slogans and religious fundamentalism, the singer foresees three major
problems associated with the capital's new leaders. First, economic and social darkness
will fall upon the capital. Secondly, the city will have no good Muslim leaders.
Thirdly, the new leaders will lead Jakartans towards "immorality."
Other political analysts
have a different view about the election of Jokowi and Ahok. Their victory is
an historic turning point that will bring to the fore popular leaders who are ethnically
and religiously different from most residents of the capital.
Joko Widodo is
the outgoing governor of Solo, Central Java. A practicing Muslim, he is also a
liberal. His deputy Basuki Tjahaja Purnawa is Christian, and an ethnic Chinese,
born in southern Sumatra. Should Widodo run for the presidency in 2014 (which
cannot be ruled out), his Christian deputy, Ahok, might become vice president.
During the election
campaign, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama was the object of repeated personal attacks
because of his Chinese
ethnicity and Christian religion. The press coverage and defamatory
slogans reached a crescendo that raised fears of possible sectarian violence
among various religious groups.
In the past,
majority Muslims have in fact attacked ethnic Chinese, both Christian and
In May 1998,
when the Suharto dictatorship was still in place, thousands of people were brutally
and viciously attacked. This has continued on and off, a sign of how fragile Indonesian
social cohesion is.