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Supporters of Jakarta's former governor, Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, display a poster that reads "Free Ahok" during a rally outside the court where his sentencing hearing was held, Jakarta, May 9, 2017 (AP photo by Dita Alangkara).

What Does Ahok’s Loss Mean for Indonesia and Jokowi?

Monday, May 15, 2017

Last month in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama—the Christian and ethnically Chinese governor of Jakarta popularly known as Ahok—lost his re-election bid. The election was ugly, as Ahok was simultaneously on trial for blasphemy and the target of a perceived smear campaign by hard-line Islamists. Ahok’s defeat in the runoff by Anies Baswedan, a former education minister, was followed last week by the court handing him a two-year jail sentence, which has sparked fears about the growth of religious radicalism in Indonesia.

But the blasphemy conviction has also prompted questions about the re-election prospects of Indonesian President Joko Widodo, or Jokowi, as Indonesia moves closer to national and legislative polls in 2019. ...

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