The Jakarta Post
The government is urging members of the public to use their political rights to vote in the 2017 regional elections solely based on the competence of the candidates and not on their religion or race, Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin said on Thursday.
"People should set their priorities to vote for candidates based on their programs and see what is truly needed by their respective regions to solve the problems," he told journalists.
However, he acknowledged that people might cast their votes for regional leaders based on preferences over religion and race as Indonesians tend to see religions and ethnicity as vital issues when choosing leaders.
Separately, Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo said religious communities in all regions of the country, particularly those involved within the Inter-Religious Harmony Forum (FKUB), should launch active campaigns to prevent people from different religions from bringing up religious issues that could threaten the accountability of the regional elections.
The FKUB, which consists of representatives from different religious communities and the government and has the main duty of ensuring religious harmony, must be empowered to participate in securing the elections that are scheduled to be held on Feb. 15, 2017, in 101 areas across the country. (rin)
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