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'Islamic parties have no strong figure to unite them' JAKARTA - A researcher has noted that Islamic parties in Indonesia have no strong figure to nominate as a presidential candidate, which is hampering coalition efforts.

"Mahfud MD can certainly be considered a potential candidate, but the question is whether other Islamic party leaders will support him," the head of the Political Research Center of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), Syamsuddin Haris, said here on Monday.

He added that he was not convinced the coalition of Islamic parties could compete in next years presidential election because their total votes in the general elections have, so far, been insignificant.

He noted that in the legislative elections of 2004 and 2009, Moslem-based parties could only garner around 30 percent of the total votes. Syamsuddin said that while socially, the number of Moslems in the country is large, they are a minority, politically.

According to him, coalitions of Islamic parties have scored more failures than successes in the countrys political history so far. He pointed out that in 1999, ahead of the presidential election, the Peoples Consultative Assembly (MPR), a centrist coalition, had been able to ensure the successful election of Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur) as president.

"The centrist coalition was successful in making him (Gus Dur) president, but it was the same coalition that later toppled him," he added. The Moslem-based United Development Party (PPP) recently initiated discussions on an Islamic party coalition ahead of the presidential election next year.

It has also suggested a convention to elect a presidential candidate to represent all Moslems in the country. Through this mechanism, the PPP hopes an appropriate candidate to represent Moslems can be found.

According to the results of a recent survey carried out by the National Survey Institution and released on Sunday, former Constitutional Court chief justice Mahfud MD is considered the most likely candidate capable of uniting Moslem-based parties for the 2014 general elections.

"Mahfud MD is the person mentioned the most by the public when asked about a potential figure to unite Islamic parties," NSI senior researcher Gema Nusantara said.

He noted that 16.4 percent of respondents chose Mahfud MD, while singer Rhoma Irama captured 9.6 percent of the votes. Other figures include current religious affairs minister Suryadharma Ali, with 9.1 percent of votes, and Amien Rais, with 7.6 percent of votes.

Mahfud was chosen by the most respondents because of his successful stint in the Constitutional Court as chief justice. He was also picked because he is considered acceptable to people from different faiths, Gema added.


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Posted in Politics @ 25 November 2013 19:49 CET by Blog Bot · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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