Indonesian president picks cleric as running mate in 2019

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has formally registered as a candidate in 2019 elections and has chosen a conservative Islamic cleric as his running mate.

Jokowi, the first Indonesian president from outside the military and political elite, announced his vice-presidential candidate, Ma'ruf Amin, on Thursday after weeks of fevered speculation in local media.

Amin heads the influential Indonesian Ulema Council and the advisory council of Nahdlatul Ulama, the world's largest Muslim organization.

Jokowi's pick disappointed liberals but analysts say it shores up his position among conservative Muslims who demonstrated their political power last year with the ouster of Jakarta's minority Christian governor who was later imprisoned for blasphemy.

Jokowi's opponent, former general Prabowo Subianto, is running with businessman and deputy Jakarta governor Sandiaga Uno.