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Why Ahok remains a man to watch

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In hindsight, it may appear that Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama has become the Kim Kardashian of Indonesian politics.

Nearly a year after his upset defeat in the capital's gubernatorial election and his controversial blasphemy conviction, the former Jakarta governor has never been completely out of the spotlight.

So it was no surprise that when news broke that Basuki had filed for divorce from his wife, Madam Veronica Tan, the Indonesian Twittersphere went crazy.

The Jakarta Post is obviously no place for gossiping about Basuki's private life, but the continual attention given to him may provide a glimpse into what lies ahead for arguably one of the most popular politicians in the country today, and why his potential comeback could change Indonesian politics in years to come.

Many would have argued that Basuki's political career was over when hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Jakarta to demand his incarceration for blasphemy. That is a fair assessment, given all the doom and gloom foreign analysts repeated like a mantra about Indonesia's dramatic turn to conservatism.

But I argue that Basuki remains one of the few people to watch in Indonesia. There are at least three reasons why.

First, his long political career has shown that he is no quitter; second, his conviction, while it was undeniably damaging politically, remains widely disputed; third and most importantly, the man who........

© The Straits Times