Thursday, April 09, 2009

Asian Pacific: Indonesia: Secular parties lead 1st round of Prez vote, Islamist parties tone done their fanaticism

In Christian Science Monitor reporter Simon Montlake's article, "In Indonesia, secular parties confirm appeal" (Apr9,2k9) informs us that in early returns from the national election,

The three largest secular parties took more than half of the votes, according to projections based on poll sampling.
Meanwhile, the position of the often-rabid Islamist parties has slid. To make an international contrast, the ruling party in constitutionally-secular Turkey is an Islamic party that is neither fanatical nor rabid, and abides by the secular constitution. Perhaps that distinction -- Turkey's party is Islamic, Indonesia's have appeared to be Islamicist in the worst sense of the word-- is appropriate. Muslim-dominated Indonesia has not been the same as Muslim-dominated Turkey, but perhaps a new trend is emerging.
The Prosperous Justice Party, or PKS, the most conservative Islamist party in the race [in Indonesia], polled around 8 percent, similar to the last elections. Other Muslim parties vying for parliamentary seats saw their share of the national vote fall. A total of 38 parties contested the elections.
The country's president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, is running for a new term. In July, he will be ballotted against his rivals of the other leading secular parties.

I consider this development to be exceptionally good news.

-- Politicarp

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