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Investigative Journalism

Identity Politics in Indonesia: The Memory of PKI and Wahabi Accusation

The name Joko Widodo (Jokowi) is attached to Ahok, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama’s nickname, since both of them nominated themselves as Governor and Vice Governor of DKI Jakarta 2012- 2017. Chosen as a Governor, Jokowi chose to continue his political career by running for the 2014 Presidential Election.

The position of DKI Jakarta Governor is filled by Ahok along with Jokowi’s victory in the 2014 Presidential Election. As an incumbent, he again ran for Governor Election 2017, but the road was not smooth.

Ahok was considered insulting the Koran and ullemas when citing Al-Maidah 51, a verse in Al-Quran which mentions the criteria of a leader. The label of religious detractors emerged when he competed with Anies Baswedan in the governor election.

Prabowo Subianto, General Chairman of the Gerakan Indonesia Raya (Gerindra) Party who took part in winning Jokowi-Ahok in DKI governor election 2012, transferred support to Anies. Ahok was shocked and sentenced to two years in prison in the case of religious blasphemy, while Anies walked to the city hall.


The 2012 DKI Governor election underlies the use of Identity Politics in the 2019 Presidential Election. As an incumbent who ran for re-election, the infidel label plagued Jokowi’s figure because he had collaborated with Ahok. In an Indonesian vocabulary, infidel is interpreted as a disbeliever of Allah Swt and His messenger.

As for Prabowo Subianto, he began to get ullemas support, which was part of the Ullemas Fatwa Guards National Movement. The movement which was originally called the National Fatwa Guards Council of the Indonesian Ullemas Council (GNPF-MUI) emerged after the MUI’s fatwa which said that Ahok had tarnished the Qur’an and insulted ullemas.

This article was made by JARING team. A collaboration reporting between JARING and Tirto on election issues in Indonesia.

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