Insight: The Fortune of the Islamic Parties in the 2019 General Election
The Five Islamic Parties in 2019 General Election: PKB, PKS, PPP, PAN, and PBB.

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – In the Indonesian political history, the movements of Islamic parties have proven active and contributing since the independence war, the early period of independence even to here, even forming the political and democratic culture of Indonesia.

Historically, the development of movements or Islamic parties in Indonesia based on the fact that the social reality of Islam as the majority religion has affected almost all state and national civilizations. Indonesia Statistics population census of 2010 show that there were 87.18 percent of the Muslim population in Indonesia.

Seen from the theological perspective, Islam also legitimates the emergence of formal political institutions, that’s Islam provides a political vision while also having political experience that can be reconstructed in representative ideological confidences.

This prove to be from the emergence of the Islamic movement in Indonesia into several ideological groups, such as the caliphate movement, the establishment of a sharia-compliant Indonesian state, and a pluralist group of democracies (national-religious), which still survive today.

In the political stage, since the first democratic elections in 1955, Islamic parties won quite large seats in Parliament and played a role in forming the government. Similarly, in the New Order era, Persatuan Pembangunan Party (PPP) as a party representing the aspirations of Muslims was able to occupy the second position.

However, in fact the electoral voice of Islamic parties nationally seemed to tend to fluctuate, especially in the post-reform period. In the 1999 elections, the total combined votes of Islamic parties were recorded at 33.75 percent. Had increased by 35 percent in the 2004 elections, but then in the 2009 elections again fell to 25.99 percent, before finally rising again to around 31.41 percent in the 2014 election.

The vote acquisition of Islamic mass-based political parties in the 2014 election for example is still quite significant, in which Kebangkitan Bangsa Party (PKB) won a vote of 9.04 percent, followed by Amanat Nasional Party (PAN) 7.59 percent, Keadilan Sejahtera Party (PKS) 6.79 percent, PPP 6.53 percent, but the Bulan Bintang Party (PBB) vote dropped by 1.46 percent.

In this 2019 election, what will happen to Islamic parties such as PKB, PKS, PAN, PPP and PBB? Do they still sit in the “safe” positions, or even begin to be eroded by changes in the strategy and political communication of the party elites?

From various survey reports, shows that Islamic parties are now in a vulnerable position to exit Parliament Threshold (PT) 4 percent. The emergence of strong new voters from millennial with rational-critical preferences is certainly a decisive factor in decreasing the vote portion of these Islamic parties. Moreover, if the parties are still far from “clean” and “welfare vision” qualities.

The survey of the Lingkaran Survei Indonesia (LSI) Denny JA in January 2019 shows that only the PKB is estimated to be “safe” from the PT, which is 8.2 percent. While, in the Islamic voters, the four other Islamic parties were still down and competing to get out of the PT hole: PKS 4.0 percent (relatively safe), PPP 3.5 percent, PAN at 1.5 percent, while the PBB dropped to 0 percent.

Some parties chose not to change their campaign model much, for example PPP, which still adhered to the model of religion sentiment, issues of populist economy and education. While the PKS promised to fight for a lifelong of driving license program, tax exemptions on workers, employees, and employees who earn under Rp 8 million/month.

This scene shows the fact that currently Islamic-based parties can no longer outperform nationalist parties and even lose competition with new parties such as Persatuan Indonesia Party (Perindo) and the Solidaritas Indonesia Party (PSI).

It means that the majority of Muslim communities in Indonesia no longer reflect their confidence in choosing parties. In addition, Islamic parties also have no power to unite the voices of the Muslim population in Indonesia, including how parties are able to change the trust of the majority of the population to boost electoral support.

This is evident from the survey conducted by many survey institutions which always showed that the dominance of national and religious-nationalist parties that occupied the top position. For example, the LSI survey places Demokrasi Indonesia Perjuangan Party (PDI-P) electability 18.4 percent, Gerakan Indonesia Raya Party (Gerindra) 16.6 percent, Golongan Karya Party (Golkar) 11 percent, Democratic Party 4.7 percent, and Nasional Demokrat Party 4.5 percent.

The leaders of Islamic parties is unmoved because the results of the survey have not really mapped the precisely position of their parties because in previous elections, the vote for Islamic parties actually showed the opposite fact.

However, as an important note, that the campaign model based on religious sentiment is no match in Indonesia’s contemporary political market. We can observe this decline from the pattern of movements of Islamic parties, which have recently been identified as the movement of the establishment of an Islamic state, instead of getting support of Muslim moderate.

Moreover, after the mass movement in National Monument in 2016 demanded a sentence against Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (BTP), many moderate Muslims did not agree with the pattern of “radical” group movements, which breaks the voices of the Islamic community itself.

Therefore, to achieve maximum electoral support, Islamic parties must find a model of political campaign that is more in line with millennial political preferences and focus on the main issues of Islamic economics, and most importantly form a party’s Islamic identity pro-societal economy and national ideology.

Written by Daniel Deha, Email: