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Jakarta Post

Islamic parties at an impasse, need reform to avoid the worst

  • Andi Rahman Alamsyah

Jakarta   /   Mon, February 25 2013   /  10:33 am

There are two interesting facts about Islam in Indonesia. First, more than 87.18 percent of the country’s total population is Muslim. Second, there has been an escalation of Islamic expression since the 1990s, such as women wearing veils, laws and bylaws influenced by Islam, the publication of Islamic books and the proliferation of Islamic banking, clinics, housing complexes and dormitories.

But these facts are not reflected in the political orientation of voters. For example, all Islamic parties won less votes and received less of the national vote than all secular-nationalist parties in three consecutive general elections after the New Order era.

According to General Elections Commission (KPU) data, the three major “pure” Islamic parties or those founded based on Islamic principles, which are the United Development Party (PPP), the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) an...