Personification of Religious Elite, Political Behavior and Identity Politics: A Profile of Regional Elections in Indonesia
The religious elite's role is significant in Indonesia's regional head elections. The political behavior of the religious elite; The role of the religious elite has legitimacy as a symbolic representation of the highest religious authority in society. The politicization of Identity at the local level has strengthened along with the presence of elite groups that participate in proclaiming the superiority of Identity, the spirit of communalism, feudalism, and regional issues in political events. This paper aims to analyze the relationship between the role and behavior of religious elites and identity politics in regional elections in the realm of politics at the local level. Based on the results of interviews, observations, and analysis of qualitative research data revealed: First, the dynamics of direct regional elections in Situbondo, Banyuwangi, Bondowoso, and Jember; second, the legitimacy of power and the political behavior of religious elites in regional elections; third, the current role of the elite mobilizes the masses and political campaigns and forth, the use of Identity Politics in regional elections. This paper suggests that the government and election organizers increase consistency in keeping the public sphere from being dominated by specific identity political forces by commodifying the politicization of religion; whatever form of identity politics in the name of religion does not cause a commotion that has the potential to undermine the disintegration of nation and state.