ASIA/INDONESIA - Regional elections: Catholics ask for an honest, fair and transparent vote

Wednesday, 15 February 2017 politics   religious minorities   religious freedom   civil society  

Jakarta (Agenzia Fides) - "May the elections be honest, fair and transparent; voting is a necessity and an obligation for all citizens": say the five Catholic organizations in a joint appeal titled "Our vote is for the nation and the country", distributed on the occasion of today’s regional elections, 15 February, in 7 provinces, 76 districts and 18 cities in Indonesia.
The joint appeal, sent to Fides, is signed by the leaders of the five associations: the Union of Catholic Students of Indonesia; the Catholic Youth; the Association of Catholic scholars; Catholic Women of Indonesia; the Indonesian Catholic Society Forum.
The text published highlights that "voting is a tool to build a better society that is based on Pancasila (national ideology) in order to reach the common good". "In every election, citizens have free will in deciding their vote according to their conscience. We must reject the corrupt politics of vote trading or intimidation because this is how the nation's society is destroyed".
Urging all citizens, Christians and non, "to participate more actively in the regional elections, the text calls on the whole society to "exercise the right to vote in good conscience". "Do not be afraid and do not be apathetic", says the document.
Also the post-voting stage is very important, observe the Catholic organizations, inviting every citizen to report to the authorities if they encounter any fraud or intimidation. Finally, we invite voters to support "candidates who have the ability and desire to create a just and peaceful society in Indonesia, with the commitment to respect and maintain the Pancasila and the principle of unity in diversity". "Plurality in Indonesia in fact - it says - is a blessing that God gives to his people. We must protect this gift, by electing a leader who ensures commitment, integrity and loyalty to Pancasila and the Constitution".
In Jakarta, there are more than 7.1 million voters registered. The three candidates are: Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono; Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama Anies Baswedan. Two of them are Muslims, while Ahok is a Protestant, ethnic Chinese Christian. Ahok is the outgoing governor (he replaced Joko Widodo, who rose to the presidency of the country) and is currently under trial for alleged blasphemy: a legal case that weighed on the electoral campaign. (PA-PP) (Agenzia Fides, 15/02/2018)