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Hardline Islamic group HTI to support Crescent Star Party in legislative elections

CNN Indonesia - March 14, 2018

Ihsan Dalimunthe, Jakarta – The spokesperson for the outlawed hardline Islamic group Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), Ismail Yusanto, has confirmed there have been discussions between HTI leaders and the Crescent Star Party (PBB) on participating in the 2019 legislative elections (pileg).

"There have been discussions on this. There is of course a mutual understanding between the two sides, between the HTI and PBB", Yusanto told CNN Indonesia on Wednesday March 14.

According to Yusanto, the agreement between the HTI and the party founded by former justice minister Yusril Ihza Mahendra is that they will focus on a program to fight for the interests of the Islamic community and to uphold Islamic law in the 2019 elections.

"So based on the aspirations of the Islamic community and upholding Islamic law we can agree and move forward", said Yusanto.

The PPB's Bengkulu provincial branch in South Sumatra has already begun recruiting legislative candidates from HTI cadre and the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI).

Nevertheless, Yusanto declined to provide details of the names of the HTI cadre who will become legislative candidates (caleg). He confirmed only that the HTI's support for the PBB is aimed at filling parliamentary seats.

"It hasn't got as far as the details and names of the caleg yet. But we will support the PBB", asserted Yusanto.

Yusanto said further that a mutual understanding on the type of democracy followed by the PBB and the HTI has already been established. According to Yusanto, both sides understand democracy as a tool to fight for and uphold the interest of the Islamic community.

While emphasising this, at the same time Yusanto denied that the entry of HTI cadre into political parties and the parliament would conflict with establishing an Islamic caliphate which they both support. "So on the question of democracy we understand each other", said Yusanto.

In relation to the 2019 presidential elections (pilpres), the HTI has yet to formulate a position. Nevertheless, Yusanto admitted that in their view the regime of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo must been replaced immediately.

The HTI's political position on the pilpres, said Yusanto, will be to urge people not to vote for leaders who are anti-Muslim, who support the dissolution of Islamic social and mass organisations (ormas), the criminalisation of Islamic scholars and those who insult the Quran and Islam. "So that the Jokowi regime is no longer in power", said Yusanto.

Nevertheless, Yusanto said that the HTI is not yet ready to be involved in deciding on the names of presidential candidates (capres) that would support the Islamic community's struggle.

This includes plans by the National Movement to Guard the Indonesian Council of Ulama's Fatwa (GNPF-MUI) and the 212 Alumni Presidium to hold a convention to select presidential candidates to challenge Jokowi. "On the issue of a capres we haven't decided yet", said Yusanto. (DAL)

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was Incar Kursi Parlemen, HTI Akui Dukung PBB di Pileg 2019.]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20180314071034-32-282788/incar-kursi-parlemen-hti-akui-dukung-pbb-di-pileg-2019.

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