28 March 2014
Indonesia’s five Islamic parties are expected to be barely able to hold their ground in the April 9 general election, being beset by problems such as the graft scandal that hit the biggest Islamic party, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), last year.
Weak performances by their Cabinet ministers and voter focus on bread-and-butter issues are also bad news for these parties.
After four post-Suharto general elections, the Islamic parties have failed to gain more support, but they should still find favour among a section of voters as religion is playing an increasingly important role in the lives of Indonesians.
Islamic leaders have been working hard to regain ground lost due to the PKS scandal.
… Apart from the scandals and poor performance, support for the Islamic parties dropped as they moved to the political centre, blurring their identity, noted Associate Professor Leonard Sebastian, of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.
“The reality is that they should go back to basics if they want to achieve better support,” he said, referring to the strong Islamic platform of the now-defunct Masjumi Party in the 1950s. “Don’t neglect the interests of the Muslim electorate, find better leaders, and have a better organised social programme,” he advised.
GPO / IDSS / RSIS / Print
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