ASIA/INDONESIA - Election campaign: “Avoid instrumentalizing the election”

Monday, 22 January 2024 elections   politics   religious community   religious leader  

Licence CC - Josh Estey/AusAID

Jakarta (Agenzia Fides) - Call for "observation of the democratic process", for a "peaceful, honest, fair and dignified election" and for the avoidance of religious content and topics in the political election campaign so that faith is not exploited for an electoral consensus: these are the main points of a special appeal jointly distributed by the major Indonesian religious leaders, who met a few days ago in Jakarta for a meeting attended by the leaders of various Islamic organizations, Christian communities, and other faiths, including the chairman of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Indonesia, Bishop Antonius Subianto Bunjamin, OSC. In view of the presidential elections on February 14, the heads of state and government formulated their appeal in a seven-point declaration, which they addressed first to the incumbent politicians, the candidates on the ballot, the members of the institutions and then to the large electorate of the archipelago aimed at raising civic awareness. The religious leaders called on all parts of the nation to "actively participate to support and make transparent the conduct of the elections" and urged all eligible Indonesian citizens to "exercise their right with full responsibility." Parties and the relevant state authorities are called upon to “neutrally monitor each phase of the elections so that everything runs smoothly” in order to protect the will of the voters and the entire democratic process. In order to avoid a conflict, the political parties and candidates should "always act with mutual respect and fairness, respect the principles of fairness and, above all, avoid using religious content as campaign material", which radicalizes the conflict between the parties and groups and inflame the hearts of supporters, resulting in violence. When the final result is announced, "all parts of the nation, including the government, electoral participants and society, must accept the results of the elections held in an honest, fair and transparent manner," the appeal said. Regardless of which party is in government and which president is elected, it is important that the new head of state "recognizes and supports the pluralism that exists in Indonesia and acts in the spirit of the Pancasila (the charter of the five principles that underlie the nation, ed.) for the preservation of national brotherhood and unity". (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 22/1/2024)