Jakarta — Chief Security Minister Wiranto called for national unity ahead of upcoming elections and stressed that the democratic process should not be equated with potential conflicts during a national meeting on Wednesday (07/03) in Jakarta. “It has been a habit for us to treat increasing tensions in our national political climate as normal during election years, but we ought not to normalize this,” Wiranto said during his opening speech. He emphasize the importance of tackling potential social conflicts at their roots ahead of upcoming elections, and called on leaders at the district and provincial levels to address the issue through better coordination and communication. Voters in 17 provinces will head to the polls for regional elections in June, which will be followed by next year’s legislative and presidential elections. Indonesian leaders warned last month about rising intolerance and identity politics during election years, in which religious leaders are expected to play a key role in maintaining national unity. Authorities recently released six core members of the Muslim Cyber Army (MCA) that spread fake news about attacks towards ulemas or Islamic scholars. The Ministry of Home Affairs organized Wednesday’s meeting as part of a national effort to tackle potential social conflicts. The event was attended by hundreds of officials representing every district and province in Indonesia and aims to build synergy and coordination among relevant stakeholders to address an issue viewed as having affected all elements of society, could potentially cause disharmony. He touched on the founding fathers’ unity during the struggle for the nation’s independence, and said today’s challenges are calling on Indonesians to unite to prevent conflicts from taking place. According to the minister, unity is crucial to protect foreign investments and ensure that the flow of international visitors to Indonesia will not be disrupted during the election years.