Christian governor edges ahead in Jakarta race
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Catholic, Protestant leaders call on all Christians to vote in run-off poll
A woman takes a selfie as Jakarta's Christian governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, better known as "Ahok," arrives to cast his vote in Jakarta on Feb. 15 in the first round of voting in the Jakarta governor poll. (Photo by Goh Chai Hin/AFP)
Catholic and Protestant leaders have called on Christians in Jakarta to vote in the highly charged April 19 run-off poll for city governor, with latest opinion polls showing the Christian incumbent pulling ahead of his Muslim rival.
Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, popularly known as Ahok, had previously trailed his rival, former education minister Anies Rasyid Baswedan, in the run-up to the poll which is being looked upon as a test of religious toleration in the Muslim majority nation.
Ahok’s supporters and political observers had blamed extremists for exploiting religious sentiments to try and stop Muslim voters backing the Christian governor who is also of Chinese descent. Ahok is currently on trial after being accused of blasphemy following a campaign speech last September. Opponents have used the blasphemy charges to try and derail his bid for a second term.
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