News analysis

Will the ghost of Jakarta race haunt regional polls?

Race, religion have not yet been a big factor but this could change

When some 160 million Indonesians from 171 regions across the country go to the polls next Wednesday to elect their local leaders, one major concern is whether race and religion will play a dominant role in the results.

Although the two issues have not pervaded a large part of the regional elections, or Pilkada as the locals call them, some analysts are seeing some far-right groups and Islamic-leaning political parties play the race and religion card at hustings.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 21, 2018, with the headline 'Will the ghost of Jakarta race haunt regional polls?'. Print Edition | Subscribe