Makassar, S Sulawesi (ANTARA) - Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin called on the entire nation to remain united and not to instigate conflicts because of different political choices in this year`s general elections.

Speaking at the Interfaith Communication Forum`s (FKUB`s) Fifth National Conference here on Saturday, he stated that having the different political preferences could not be a reason for anybody to instigate conflicts among community members.

Instead, all elements in the Indonesian society should contribute to this nation`s common efforts to create fair, peaceful, and secure parliamentary and presidential elections, due to be held simultaneously throughout the archipelago on April 17.

"We must take an active part in making the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections a success. Let us see Indonesia remain united, harmonious, and peaceful forever," Saifuddin noted.

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He acknowledged that voters have rights to have distinct political choices, but it needs to be perceived and understood as a common thing in a fiesta of democracy, which is just held once in five years.

"So, if the elections have been over, we are reunited," he remarked, adding that all eligible voters were encouraged to cast their votes in ballot booths because the outcomes of the general elections would determine the direction of Indonesia`s future.

In connection with the 2019 presidential election, the General Election Commissions (KPU) has prepared five rounds of presidential debates for the Joko Widodo-Ma`ruf Amin and Subianto-Uno pairs.

The first and second presidential debates had been held on Jan 17 and Feb 17, 2019, during which the two presidential candidates expressed their views and perspectives on such chosen issues as law, corruption, terrorism, environment, and infrastructure.

The presidential debates, broadcast live by several television channels, are expected to help some 192 million eligible voters, who will participate in this democratic process, to become well-informed on the two pairs` capacity and capability.

Empowered with sufficient information about the candidates, they will be able to vote rationally. Whoever wins the upcoming presidential election, Indonesia will have a new pair of capable president and vice president.

Reporting by Abdul Kadir

Editing by Rahmad Nasution

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