03/29/2019, 15.35
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Upcoming election is a ‘clash between pluralism and fundamentalist Islam’

by Mathias Hariyadi

On 17 April, Indonesians will elect their president, vice president, and lawmakers. The former head of intelligence stands with moderate Widodo, urging voters to "go to the polls and make the right choice, to save the nation”.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Indonesia’s upcoming general elections will be "a political clash between two opposing ideologies: pluralism and fundamentalist Islam,” this according to General (Ret) Abdullah Mahmud Hendropriyono (pictured), who was the first chief of Indonesia’s State Intelligence Agency  (Badan Intelijen Negara, BIN).

For the first time in Indonesian history, 190 million eligible voters will elect on the same day (17 April) their President and Vice-President as well as the Members of the House of Representatives (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat, DPR) and House of Regions (Dewan Perwakilan Daerah, DPD).

For many observers, the election will be a "critical day" for the future of the country’s young democracy, which is threatened by Islamism.

General Hendropriyono is the latest prominent figure to appeal to voters not to shy away from voting or spoiling their ballot (golongan putih or golput).

Speaking yesterday in Kalibata (South Jakarta), the retired military officer explained that the election is “not a political duel between President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo and his rival Prabowo Subianto at the polls, but a battle between [Indonesia’s state ideology of] Pancasila and fundamentalist Islam.”

As a proud supporter of Widodo’s Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (Partai Demokrasi Indonesia Perjuangan, PDIP), Hendropriyono calls on voters to "go to the polls and make the right choice, to save the nation and themselves."

For the former BIN chief, the Pancasila pluralist doctrine is what has held together so far a country so varied in ethnic groups, languages, cultures and social values, which is now threatened by radical Islamic movements, who are responsible for the growing support for the establishment of a caliphate in Indonesia, especially among young people and students.

"It makes no sense for Indonesians today to be attracted to this ideology,” Hendropriyono said looking at the tragic example of such a political regime in Syria and Iraq. “It is not just a concern. We must choose and vote for the good of the country.”

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