Jokowi woos Muhammadiyah ahead of polls

kikimiqbalsoft - Jokowi woos Muhammadiyah ahead of polls Jakarta Governor and Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) presidential ...

kikimiqbalsoft - Jokowi woos Muhammadiyah ahead of polls Jakarta Governor and Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) presidential candidate Joko “Jokowi” Widodo spent his afternoon break on Thursday visiting the headquarters of Muhammadiyah, the country’s second-largest Muslim organization, in a move to attract Muslim voters ahead of the upcoming general and presidential elections.

Upon arrival, Jokowi, his entourage and Muhammadiyah chairman Din Syamsuddin performed a dhuhur (midday) prayer at a mosque located inside Muhammadiyah’s compound, with Jokowi assuming the role of imam. Jokowi and Din later had lunch together and engaged in a closed-door meeting for an hour.

Din, however, denied speculation that his request for Jokowi to lead the prayer was a sign that Muhammadiyah officially supported Jokowi’s presidential nomination.

“We were happy to have Pak Jokowi as our imam during the prayer. We always ask our honored guests to be an imam at our prayer gatherings,” Din said, adding that Muhammadiyah was an independent organization that was prohibited from affiliating with any party.

He did say, however, that a significant number of Muhammadiyah members had shown an interest in supporting Jokowi’s candidacy.

Jokowi insisted that his meeting with Din had nothing to do with his presidential nomination.

“We talked about education and health programs, since those are among the core problems faced by Muhammadiyah’s members,” he said.

Jokowi has visited Muhammadiyah’s headquarters twice during his governorship.

Din said he had also used Thursday’s meeting to share with Jokowi a plan to expand Muhammadiyah’s office building.

“I hope Pak Jokowi can issue the permit [for the expansion] while he is still Jakarta governor,” he said.

Many surveys have named Jokowi the most popular presidential contender, leading by a comfortable margin against other candidates, including the Gerindra Party’s Prabowo Subianto and the Golkar Party’s Aburizal Bakrie.

Jokowi’s presidential nomination is also expected to help boost the PDI-P’s performance in the April 9 legislative election, according to some pollsters.

Firman Noor, a political science researcher with the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), considered Jokowi’s visit to Muhammadiyah a symbolic move to seek the approval of Muslim voters, especially those affiliated with Muslim organizations.

“It is a normal [political] move. Every presidential candidate needs to approach major organizations to show that he or she is in harmony with the supporters of those organizations,” he said.

Meanwhile, political analyst at Yogyakarta’s Gadjah Mada University (UGM), Purwo Santoso, stressed the importance of Jokowi making prudent political moves ahead of the presidential election, including those relating to the selection of his vice presidential candidate.

“As long as Jokowi doesn’t do anything sloppy, I think his presidential candidacy is secure. But he needs not only to think about winning the election but also how to create a solid and effective government, should he win the presidency,” he said.--



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