Islamic parties lose relevance
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Two opinion polls have painted a gloomy picture for Islam-based political parties, with none of the existing ones being predicted to remain among the top five parties in the 2014 general election.
The Indonesian Survey Circle (LSI) found in its survey that, if the general election were to take place today, major Islam-based political parties, including the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), the National Awakening Party (PKB), the National Mandate Party (PAN) and the United Development Party (PPP), would all get less than 5 percent of the vote each and collectively would only garner 21.1 percent of the popular vote.
In its latest survey, the LSI interviewed 1,200 respondents between Oct. 1 and 8.
In the survey, the LSI found that Golkar would likely win the election with 21 percent of the vote. The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) would come in second with 17.2 percent and the Democratic Party in third place with 14 percent. Two newer secular political parties — the Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Party and the National Democratic Party (NasDem) — would take the place of Islam-based parties in the top five, with 5.2 percent and 5 percent of the vote respectively.
“This would be the first time since the 2004 general election that not even a single Muslim-based political party made it into the big five,” said LSI researcher Adjie Alfaraby during a press conference in Jakarta on Sunday.
In the 2009 election, the PKB and the PPP, two parties with close ties to the country’s largest Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), were in third and fourth position with 10.6 percent and 8.1 percent of the vote, respectively.
In the last election, the PKS and PAN each got 7.9 percent and 6 percent of the vote, respectively.
The survey found that the implosion of Muslim-based political parties had multiple causes, including voters who were put off by vigilante activism by Muslim outfits like the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) and the growing fear of efforts to introduce Islamic law in some parts of the country.
“The demand for the imposition of sharia has become a point of reference among voters. More than 46.1 percent of the respondents believe that sharia will be implemented if a Muslim-based party wins the election and rules the country,” Adjie said.
He also said that secular, nationalist political parties had been successful in wooing Muslim voters and turning them away from Muslim-based parties.
The results of another survey released on Sunday also revealed that Muslim-based parties were in dire straits.
The Saiful Mujani Research & Consulting (SMRC) found in its survey, conducted between Sept. 5 and 16, that three Islam-based political parties, the PKS, the PKB and the PPP, would only get 3 percent of the vote. PAN would come in fourth with a meagre 2 percent of the vote.
SMRC researcher Deni Irvani said Nasdem and Gerindra would get many of the votes that traditionally went to Muslim-based parties.
The survey predicts that Golkar will win the 2014 election with 14 percent of the vote.
Responding to the dire prospects, PKB politician Marwan Ja’far said that the pollsters could have favored secular parties and he was optimistic that his party would get at least 10 percent of the vote. “We are aware that most swing voters are in big cities. But the PKB will only concentrate in rural areas where our traditional voters reside,” Marwan said.
PPP politician Ahmad Yani warned that poor electoral prospects for his party could bring grave danger to the country.
“We will explain [to voters] that Indonesia will be in danger if we don’t have a Muslim-based party, because it is an important means to defend the values of Islam on the national political stage,” he told The Jakarta Post. (yps)