Muslim candidate leads polls in Jakarta gubernatorial elections

The elections have been overshadowed by religious tensions as mass protests have been held against Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, the incumbent Christian governor in a Muslim-majority country.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Counting is under way in the divisive election.

Early counts in the race for the governor of Jakarta on Wednesday suggest that the Muslim former Indonesian education minister, Anies Baswedan, is ahead of Jakarta's incumbent Christian governor in the race to lead the Indonesian capital.

The race was already significant as politicians see the job as a stepping stone to the presidency in the 2019 polls. However, the stakes were raised dramatically by a controversy sparked by claims that  Basuki Tjahaja Purnama insulted the Quran.

Purnama apologised for any offence he might have caused, while saying his words were misconstrued.

Baswedan pledged to safeguard diversity and unity after a bitterly fought campaign to lead the capital of the Muslim-majority nation.

"Our focus is social justice, ending inequality, and our commitment is to safeguard diversity and unity," Baswedan told a news conference.

He said he would be in touch with his rival, Purnama.

Source: 
TRTWorld and agencies