Too Many Islamic Parties in Indonesia?

Partyforumseasia: 169 out of 560 seats in the outgoing Indonesian Parliament or 30.1% for four of the five Islamic parties  are not a bad result at first glance. Under a different angle, in relation to more than 200 million Muslims among the 237 million Indonesians, they might have done better. PKSFor the upcoming elections, though, the polls predict not more than 22 %. Why are they so (relatively) weak?
The biggest factor may be that they are competing against each other and don’t get direct support from the two huge religious mass organizations Muhammdiyah (founded in 1912) and Nahdlatul Ulama (founded in 1926). Together these Muslim movements have 70 million members but decided to stay out of party politics this time.
Other factors are corruptPANion scandals which demolished the pretended moral superiority. Politicians with religious credentials turned out to be as vulnerable to money politics as all the others and didn’t perform better when they held public office. And last but not least, the mainstream parties are promising enough bread and butter improvements which the splintered Islamic parties can’t guarantee even if some of them should make it into a government coalition as junior partners.
But religion is still playing a rather important role in the public sphere of the Republic of Indonesia. Hope bearer Joko Widodo is carefully integrating it into his campaign.
For more details see Straits Times, Singapore, 28 March 2014 (boxes)
PPP                         PKBPBB

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