April 20, 2017 / 8:32 AM / 3 months ago

Fitch says religious tensions could affect future Indonesia elections

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JAKARTA, April 20 (Reuters) - Rating agency Fitch said on Thursday tensions witnessed during the Jakarta governor poll could resurface in the run-up to Indonesia's next presidential election in 2019 and potentially affect support for the government's policy agenda negatively.

Former education minister Anies Baswedan beat incumbent Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama by a big margin on Wednesday, after a polarising campaign that cast a shadow over Indonesia's reputation for practicing a tolerant form of Islam.

"The early results of the tense Jakarta elections seem to suggest that religious factors could play an increasingly significant role in future Indonesian elections," Fitch said in an emailed statement.

However, the rating agency said Indonesia has made a "substantial" progress in improving governance over the past two decades and the country's democratic electoral process has remained intact. (Reporting by Eveline Danubrata; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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