ASIA/INDONESIA - Presidential elections, Christians prefer Joko Widodo

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Jakarta (Agenzia Fides) - In the presidential elections to be held July 9, Indonesian Christians show a preference for the candidate Joko Widodo, 50 years old, governor of Jakarta, called Jokowi. This was reported by Fr. Benny Suseyto, secretary of the Commission for Interreligious Dialogue of the Catholic Bishops' Conference to Fides Agency, explaining the reasons for the preference over the other candidate in the race, former general Prabowo Subianto.
"Jokowi - he explains - is a leader who has put on his agenda the issues of human rights and freedoms, the rights of minorities, the fight against religious intolerance. In addition to the urgent issue of the fight against corruption. He is a candidate who desires to lead a democratic and pluralistic Indonesia. He talks about peace, harmony, justice and the common good: he is well thought of by Christians". On the other hand, however, "Prabowo Subianto has recently found the support of Islamic parties and also of radical Islamic groups, such as the Islamic Defenders Front, promoter of hatred and violence in society. This has caused disappointment in the areas of civil society that pay more attention to human rights issues. In addition Subianto is a man linked to the old state and military apparatus, and is regarded as a continuation of the old policy".
In Indonesian society - notes the priest – there is an ongoing process of social and cultural transformation in which new generations have a greater demographic weight: there are 75 million young voters who will vote for a president for the first time. Young people are far from the old establishment that ruled the country, and as advocates of a renewal of the ruling classes, support Joko Widodo, the new man of politics.
"From the new President – concludes Fr. Suseyto - Christians expect him to defeat corruption, support the Pancasila (the five philosophical principles underlying the cohabitation in the nation, ed), strengthen the rule of law by stopping the abuse of power and impunity of radical Islamic groups in society".
With regards to the elections, the Indonesian Bishops have spoken out recently, inviting the faithful to choose candidates who "have a desire to serve others rather than pursuing their own self-interest", looking carefully at "who maintains high principles and values of democracy" and promotes tolerance. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 17/06/2014)