Indonesian president trumpets nationalism amid queries about VP pick

Ma'ruf Amin is an Indonesian Islamic scholar seventh leader of the Indonesian Ulema Council as well as the tenth chairman of the advisory council of en:Nahdlatul Ulama

Indonesian President Chooses Muslim Cleric as Running Mate Wikimedia 9 Aug 2018

Indonesian President Joko Widodo (2nd L) and his vice-presidential running mate for the 2019 presidential election Islamic cleric Ma'ruf Amin (2nd R) applaud along with Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) leader and former president Megawati Sukarnoputri (R) and other coalition party members while greeting supporters in Jakarta, Indonesia Aug 10, 2018.

With Ma'ruf fielded as running-mate, the moderate Jokowi will be facing off with former general Prabowo Subianto and the deputy governor of Jakarta, Sandiaga Uno.

Jokowi's pick has become bigger news in Indonesia, the world's third-largest democracy, than an quake on the island of Lombok that killed more than 300 people. Candidates for president and vice president have until Friday to register their nominations.

"Democracy is not a war, democracy is not a hostility, but a contest of ideas, track record of achievement", said Widodo after his registration at the commission office.

His pick for Vice-President, Ma'ruf Amin, is chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council, the nation's top Muslim clerical body.

According to the Jakarta Post, Ma'ruf now chairs the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), Indonesia's highest Muslim clerical body that oversees all registered Muslim organisations such as the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Muhammadiyah and the Islamic Union (Persis).

Associate Professor Fealey said Mr Amin would provide a "political shield" to Jokowi, who is sometimes accused of not being religious enough.

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His rival in what is expected to be a two-horse race is former general Prabowo Subianto, who is teaming up with Jakarta's deputy governor, Sandiaga Uno, a wealthy businessman and fellow party stalwart.

"Any change of government, from village and district chiefs and governor and president, must run safely, peacefully and honestly. We want to be dedicated so that there will be no more hungry people, no more poor people in Indonesia and justice must be felt by all Indonesian people", he said. "Whatever the people's decision, we have to respect it", Subianto said.

Ahok lost the Jakarta gubernatorial election to a Muslim candidate, Anies Baswedan, and was later sentenced to two years in prison for blasphemy.

"He issued fatwas condemning religious and gender minorities like the Ahmadiyah and LGBT individuals at a time they were subject to violent assaults", he said.

Jokowi is seeking a second five-year term as president in the election scheduled for April 17, 2019.

Prabowo testily refused to accept the election results and withdrew just hours before the announcement of official results.

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