Indonesia prosecutors seek 2 years probation for Jakarta gov

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(AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana). Indonesians queue up give their votes at a makeshift polling station under a bridge during the runoff election in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, April 19, 2017.

JAKARTA, April 19 (Reuters) - A former Indonesian education minister won the race for Jakarta governor on Wednesday after a polarising campaign that cast a shadow over Indonesia's reputation for practicing a tolerant form of Islam.

Ahok supporters in Glodok, West Jakarta, 19 April 2017.

Baswedan, a highly educated Muslim politician, capitalised on the backlash against Purnama by courting the support of conservative religious leaders and figures on the radical fringe who opposed electing a non-Muslim.

Some voters may have been reluctant to vote for Purnama because of worries about "five more years of protests on the streets by Muslim hardliners", Loveard said in a telephone interview.

Opinion polls in the run-up to the vote indicated that the race was neck and neck but in the event, Baswedan appeared on course for a strong victory. Baswedan is supported by a retired general, Prabowo Subianto, who narrowly lost to Widodo in a 2014 presidential vote and is expected to challenge him again.

The 47-year-old also hinted that he would move to heal the divisions in the capital, if his victory is confirmed: "We celebrate diversity... The police and military are ready but we never know". Indonesian markets were closed on Wednesday.

The official results of the vote will not be announced until next month.

After an anti-Purnama protest past year turned violent, authorities were taking no chances and over 60,000 security forces had been deployed.

Hardline groups had pledged to station monitors at polling booths.

Police fear Islamic leaders could incite a fresh bout of unrest if Purnama wins the election.

Now the head of the newly-formed United Indonesia Party, Tanoesoedibjo has often said he has been inspired by Trump and may try to run for the Indonesian presidency.

Indeed, the margin of Baswedan's victory meant Purnama failed to pick up any of the votes of Agus Yudhoyono, son of former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who, like Baswedan, had built his campaign around Purnama's ongoing blasphemy trial and the religious undercurrents that have intensified over the past four months.

While campaigning last fall, Purnama reportedly told voters that they were being lied to by people who were misquoting that verse to justify their argument that Muslims should not be ruled by non-Muslims.

Being convicted of blasphemy would not automatically stop Purnama from holding office and the appeal process could buy him significant time before serving any jail sentence. He has won praise for cleaning up once-filthy rivers and creating more green spaces, although his acerbic style has upset some.

His accusers allege, however, that he had stated that voters had been lied to by the Qur'an itself, and after mass protest rallies, authorities agreed to prosecute him for allegedly blaspheming the revered scripture.

This post was syndicated from Breaking News, Nigeria News and World News - The Guardian Nigeria.

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