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Widodo's VP choice signals Indonesia's rising religious intolerance

Muslim cleric Ma'ruf Amin has potential to be future kingmaker

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, left, and Islamic cleric Ma'ruf Amin, his running mate for the 2019 presidential election   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Amid the Asian financial crisis 20 years ago, Ginandjar Kartasasmita, who was sitting in then-President Suharto's cabinet, not only fixed Indonesia's ailing economy but also helped force Suharto's resignation, ending the nation's 30 years of "development dictatorship."

The once-influential official visited Japan in July and predicted the outcome of Indonesia's April 2019 presidential election, saying "President Joko Widodo will be reelected. He is very strong like [Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo] Abe."

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