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Indonesian president picks cleric as running mate in 2019

AP  |  Jakarta 

The battle lines for Indonesia's 2019 were drawn today as formally registered as a candidate after choosing a conservative Islamic as his

Jokowi, the first Indonesian from outside the military and political elite, announced his vice-presidential candidate, Ma'ruf Amin, yesterday after weeks of fevered speculation in

Jokowi's pick has become bigger in Indonesia, the world's third-largest democracy, than an earthquake on the island of that killed more than 300 people.

Amin heads the influential and the advisory council of Nahdlatul Ulama, the world's largest Muslim organization.

Jokowi's pick disappointed liberals but analysts say it shores up his position among conservative Muslims who demonstrated their political power last year with the ouster of Jakarta's minority Christian who was later imprisoned for blasphemy.

Jokowi's opponent for a second time, and former Prabowo Subianto, is running with businessman and deputy Jakarta They're expected to officially register as candidates after today's prayers.

A longtime in Indonesia's "Kopassus" special forces, Subianto was discharged from the military in 1998 after Kopassus soldiers tortured activists who opposed dictator Human rights groups allege he led a 1983 massacre in in which more than 300 people were killed.

There was a celebratory atmosphere and snarled traffic outside the election commission in central Jakarta as and Amin arrived. After registering, praised his opponents.

"and are the best sons of the nation like me and Mr. They want to struggle for our beloved nation," he said.

The 2014 was marred by dirty campaigning and that was a secret communist and of Chinese background, accusations often used in to discredit or intimidate political opponents.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, August 10 2018. 14:40 IST