SARA Politics could Potentially Hinder 2019 Presidential Election

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The main issue that the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) predicts would hinder the 2019 Presidential Election is the emergence of identity politics and SARA (ethnicity, religion, and race) issues.

    Head of LIPI Political Research Center Firman Noor said both of them can prevent the democratic consolidation. “Other elements such as intolerance among society, radicalism, and other elements will be a hindrance,” he said.

    According to a LIPI research, the level of tolerance among Indonesians is currently in a critical condition with 62.8 percent respondents stating that the tolerance level is in a bad situation. This is caused by SARA issues being politicized, stigmatization, discrimination against minority groups, and other social conflicts.

    Firman corroborated the research by the level of persecution cases that increased to a worrying level, circulation of hoax news, hate speech, and distrust among ethnicity groups, religious groups, and racial groups.

    What makes it worse is that sensitive issues are often capitalized and amplified by political elites. However, LIPI researcher Syarif Hidayat said that these worrying SARA issues seldom emerge in the grass roots level, “As what happened in the Jakarta Gubernatorial Election which was manipulated by political elites.”

    The only solution to the problem according to Syarif is to control politicians’ behavior and urging them to stop capitalizing on SARA issues for the short term benefit that it holds, but is able to have significant effects in the long run and possible horizontal conflicts.