CAIRO - Islamic-leaning political parties in Indonesia are losing popularity, with none of the existing ones are being predicted to remain among the top five parties in the country's coming election, new surveys have found.
This would be the first time since the 2004 general election that not even a single Muslim-based political party made it into the big five, Adjie Alfaraby, a researcher at Indonesian Survey Circle (LSI) told a press conference cited by The Jakarta Post on Monday, October 15.The survey, conducted in the period between October 1 and 8, showed that public support for Islamic parties in Indonesia has sharply dropped.
It found that Islamic parties would get less than 5 percent of the vote each if the general elections were held today.
The Islamic parties collectively would only garner 21.1 percent of votes if the polls were held today, the poll, which included 1,200 respondents, showed.
The major Islamic parties in Indonesia are the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), the National Awakening Party (PKB), the National Mandate Party (PAN) and the United Development Party (PPP).
The survey found that the nationalist Golkar party would likely win the election with 21 percent of the vote.
The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) would come in second with 17.2 percent and the Democratic Party in third place with 14 percent.
Two newer secular political parties the Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Party and the National Democratic Party (NasDem) would take the place of Islamic learning parties in the top five, with 5.2 percent and 5 percent of the vote respectively.
Another survey by the Saiful Mujani Research & Consulting (SMRC) was even worse for Islamic parties.
Conducted between September 5 and 16, the SMRC found that three Islamic parties, the PKS, the PKB and the PPP, would only get 3 percent of the vote.
PAN would come in fourth with a meager 2 percent of the vote.
SMRC researcher Deni Irvani said Nasdem and Gerindra would get many of the votes that traditionally went to Islamic parties.
The survey also predicted that Golkar will win the 2014 general election with 14 percent of the vote.
The surveys attributed the declining popularity of Islamic parties in Indonesia to vigilante activism by Islamist groups, including the Islam Defenders Front (FPI).
Some also blamed the declining popularity to growing calls for introducing Islamic Shari`ah in some parts of the country.
The demand for the imposition of Shari`ah has become a point of reference among voters, LSI researcher Adjie told The Jakarta Post.
More than 46.1 percent of the respondents believe that Shari`ah will be implemented if a Muslim-based party wins the election and rules the country.
He also said that secular and nationalist parties had been successful in wooing Muslim voters and turning them away from Islamic leaning parties.
Responding to the dire prospects, PKB politician Marwan Ja'far rejected the results of both polls, saying he was optimistic that his party would get at least 10 percent of the vote.
We are aware that most swing voters are in big cities. But the PKB will only concentrate in rural areas where our traditional voters reside, Marwan said.
PPP politician Ahmad Yani also warned that poor electoral prospects for his party could bring grave danger to the country.
We will explain [to voters] that Indonesia will be in danger if we don't have a Muslim-based party, because it is an important means to defend the values of Islam on the national political stage, he said.Indonesia is the most populous Muslim state where Muslims make up 80% percent of the 220 million population.