Indonesia election: young voters, who comprise a majority of the electorate, are in support of conservative Islam

Indonesia election puts Islam on the ballot

More Muslims live in Indonesia than anywhere else in the world, and on April 17, the country is electing its next president. Since Indonesia embraced democracy in 1998, it has provided a strong example for the separation of religion and state.

However, today the political situation in Indonesia seems to have changed. “The role of religion should not be underestimated. It provides the means to operate in politics and it is used by all sides,” Susanne Schröter, director of German research institute Global Islam, told DW.

Indonesia’s current president, Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, is running against ex-general Prabowo Subianto, who has attacked his opponent for not being sufficiently Islamic. For example, Jokowi has been accused of not being able to recite the Koran in proper Arabic. Jokowi’s election team is also trying to improve their candidate’s religious reputation by claiming that he attended a Muslim school.