Big news from Indonesia. Based on political contests in Pakistan, Iraq, Indonesia and elsewhere, it seems that Muslim countries that are young democracies tend to vote for parties favoring religion-based governance in the initial years, but then start to turn to secularism as the democracy evolves. Look at the recent elections in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country:
“The secular party of Indonesia’s president tripled its share of the vote in parliamentary elections as support for religious parties nose-dived in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country.
After years of unpopular laws pushed through by religious hard-liners, regulating women’s dress and banning everything from smoking to yoga, even devout Muslims in Indonesia say they have had enough with religion in politics.
The election victory by the party of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is expected to help him win a second term when a presidential vote is held in July. The former army general who became the country’s first democratically elected leader in 2004.
Support for the main Islamist parties in last month’s parliamentary polls declined from 39 percent five years ago to just 24 percent, largely because modern, urban voters view them as intolerant.”