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Jakarta Post

Cases against FPI leader may boost Ahok’s electability: Researcher

  • Safrin La Batu

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, January 19, 2017   /  08:32 pm
Cases against FPI leader may boost Ahok’s electability: Researcher Defiant – Islam Defenders Front (FPI) leader Habib Rizieq Shihab (center) talks with House of Representatives deputy chairman Fachri Hamzah (right) during his visit to the House complex in Senayan, Central Jakarta, on Jan. 11. (Antara/Wahyu Putro A.)

Legal cases implicating Islam Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab will likely boost Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama’s electability, which has been in decline according to recent surveys since the start of his blasphemy trial, researchers have said.

Rizieq, an ardent critic of Ahok’s, has been reported to police for allegedly dishonoring the country’s first president, Sukarno, and Pancasila, the nation’s founding principles. He has also been reported for allegedly defaming Christianity.

A senior political researcher with the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), Syamsuddin Haris, said Rizieq’s alleged involvement in those cases would lead the public to see Ahok in a positive light after prolonged hatred toward the governor, who stands accused of having insulted Islam.

“Ahok still has a chance to win the election, although I predict the electoral process will include two rounds,” Syamsuddin said in a discussion on Thursday.

(Read also: FPI leader Rizieq Shihab to testify in Ahok’s hearing)

Similarly, Populi Center director Usep S Ahyar said Rizieq’s cases would turn people to support Ahok. “People will say Ahok’s critic is doing this and that,” he said.

After questioning Rizieq for allegedly dishonoring Pancasila last week, West Java Police said on Thursday they had moved from a preliminary investigation into Rizieq to a full investigation.

Meanwhile, Ahok’s blasphemy case is heard every Tuesday at the North Jakarta District Court, with hearings temporarily taking place at the Agriculture Ministry in South Jakarta. (ebf)

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