REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, CIREBON -- Constitutional law expert Mahfud MD opined that the ongoing general election process tended to be hostile, as though it is no longer about selecting a leader. Therefore, he called for efforts to ease tensions.
"This general election is (as though) an event for hostility and not for selecting a leader," Mahfud, chairman of the Nationalism Torch Movement, noted during the third series of the Nationalism Dialogs, here, Tuesday.
He also viewed that the ongoing election process had tended to trigger a divide among primordial bonds and an emergence of identity politics.
"It is since this election has, as if, caused quarrels between supporters of A and B, between followers of this religion and that religion, members of this tribe and that tribe, and members of this race and that race. These have begun to emerge and these need to be calmed down before it becomes a disease of the nation," he cautioned.
He called for ideas to strengthen nationalism to address this condition.
"All those are just symptoms and have not become a real disease. Hence, if anticipatory measures are not taken, it could become a disease of this nation," he emphasized.
The Nationalism Dialogs are organized by the Indonesian railway company KAI in cooperation with the Nationalism Torch Movement, from Merak in Banten Province to Banyuwangi, East Java. The objective behind the dialogs is to promote public awareness of the need to strengthen the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia.
Indonesia will organize simultaneous legislative and presidential elections on April 17, 2019. Seeking a second term, Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, has picked Ma'ruf Amin, chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), as his partner, to everyone's surprise.
The pair will face retired military general Prabowo Subianto, who has chosen Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno, a young and successful entrepreneur, as his running mate. This year's race will be a repeat of the bitter 2014 presidential election that showcased the country's divide as Jokowi went head-to-head with Prabowo.