TEHRAN, April 19, YJC – Millions of Indonesians have been going to the polls in the capital Jakarta to pick a governor in a runoff between a Muslim candidate and the incumbent Christian governor, who is being prosecuted for allegations of blasphemy.
7.1 million eligible voters are casting their ballots in more than
13,000 polling stations, which are being secured by thousands of police
Jakarta’s Christian Governor Basuki Purnama Tjahaja, known
as Ahok, who is running for another term, is facing blasphemy charges
for having recited a verse from the Quran to accuse his opponents of
using the holy book to turn voters against him in November 2016.
move angered Muslims and brought hundreds of thousands of protesters to
the streets of Jakarta repeated times. Purnama has denied an intention
to insult Muslims.
He came in first with almost 43 percent of the
vote in the first round of the election on February 15, just ahead of
former Education and Culture Minister Anies Baswedan, who, like 85
percent of Jakarta’s residents, is a Muslim. But the incumbent did not
secure enough votes for an outright win.
According to polls, the runoff, too, is expected to be a tight race.
Purnama, who is backed by President Joko Widodo’s ruling party, cast
his vote with his family in North Jakarta. There, he said, “The military and the police have guaranteed safety, so don’t be afraid.”
Police had said it would deploy 66,000 personnel in the city.
A Muslim coalition group also said it would be deploying monitors at each polling station across Jakarta.
are high in the capital of the world’s largest Muslim-populated
country, with both sides raising concerns about voter fraud.
prosecutors will on Thursday make their sentencing demand in Purnama’s
trial for blasphemy, which is considered a criminal offense in the
If convicted, he would face five years in prison.
Source: Press TV