Indonesian President Picks Muslim Cleric as Running Mate in Reelection Bid

Widodo and Amin meet supporters in Jakarta Indonesia

Widodo and Amin meet supporters in Jakarta Indonesia

Earlier, SBY had thrown his support behind Subianto and even stated that he would leave the decision for vice presidential candidate up to Subianto.

The pair will square off against Prabowo and deputy Jakarta governor Sandiaga Uno, a former businessman and private equity tycoon.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has chosen a conservative Muslim cleric who has railed against homosexuality and once issued a fatwa against secularism as his running mate for next year's election.

Ma'ruf was instrumental in the jailing previous year of former Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, an ethnic Chinese Christian, on charges of blaphemy.

Prabowo's candidate for Jakarta governor won the election, which analysts and rights advocates condemned for inflaming sectarian sentiment.

The president has been criticized by conservative Muslims for issuing a decree past year paving the way for the disbanding of Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia, the local branch of an global Islamic organization seeking the establishment of a caliphate through peaceful means.

His opponent will be General Prabowo Subianto, representing a coalition of the Greater Indonesia Movement Party, the National Mandate Party and the Prosperous Justice Party, which leads Sandiaga Uno, vice governor of Jakarta, to run for vice president.

The Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) last month said that Jokowi's electability remains as high as 58.2 percent.

"I think we complete each other, nationalistic and religious". He is a prominent member of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the country's largest Muslim organization. "They want to struggle for our beloved nation", he said. Candidates for president and vice president have until Friday to register their nominations.

The MUI was also pivotal to several controversial regulations including the country's anti-Pornography law, which has to date blocked out 70,000 "negative" websites, and the 2013 decree banning the Ahmadiyah Muslim religious sect.

Gerindra Party leader Prabowo Subianto waves to reporters as he arrives for a meeting with former Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the Yudhoyono's residence in Jakarta, Indonesia August 9, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto.

"We hope that in the next two or three hours there will be an agreement between Prabowo and the Democrats", Democratic Party deputy secretary general Andi Arief said.

It is widely believed that the Democrats wanted Prabowo to pick Yudhoyono's son, USA -educated retired army major Agus Harimurti, as his running mate.

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