Indonesian police arrest Islamist ally of president for suspected graft

15 March 2019 12:23 Europe Desk

JAKARTA (Reuters) - The head of an influential Islamist party that is a member of President Joko Widodo’s ruling coalition was arrested for alleged graft on Friday, according to police .

The arrest of Muhammad Romahurmuziy, 44, head of the United Development Party (PPP) comes just about a month ahead of legislative and presidential elections on April 17, in which Widodo is seeking re-election .

Romahurmuziy was taken into police custody in East Java in relation to a case being handled by the country’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), though the specifics of the case were unclear .

“He is currently being held at police headquarters in Sidoarjo,” said East Java police spokesman, Frans Barung Mangera. Preparations were being made to transfer the politician to Jakarta, he added .

The anti-graft agency did not immediately respond to requests for comment. It has 24 hours to determine Romahurmuziy’s status as suspect or release him .

PPP, which controls 7 percent of parliament, is expected to canvas the conservative Muslim vote for Widodo, whose religious credentials have been attacked by opponents.

Widodo’s campaign team is scheduled to hold a news conference later on Friday.

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