Fri, 05 Dec 2003

Big names qualify to run for DPD candidates

Bambang Nurbianto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Jakarta General Elections Commission (KPUD) announced some big names among the 36 candidates that qualified for the Regional Representatives Council (DPD) for next year's general election.

These included businessman Pontjo Sutowo, former state minister of the environment Sarwono Kusumaatmadja, businesswomen Mooryati Soedibjo and Kemala Motik, politicians Aberson Marle Sihaloho and Bambang Warih Koesoemo, former ambassador to Singapore H.B.L. Mantiri and Betawi (native Jakartan) figures Biem T. Benyamin, son of the late actor Benyamin Sueb, and chairman of the Betawi Brotherhood Forum (FBR) Fadloli El Muhir.

KPUD chairman M. Taufik told a media conference on Thursday that some of the big names, including Pontjo and Aberson, had qualified conditionally.

According to Taufik, some people from the Thousand Islands regency claimed that Pontjo's men had promised to give them rice and money if they supported the businessman.

As for Aberson, he was unable to show his high school diploma to KPUD officials during the verification process; however, he did produce a document saying that he was once registered as a student at the University of Indonesia (UI).

The information on both candidates was revealed earlier by Taufik late last month.

Another member of the KPUD, Riza Patria, said that the two candidates could be scrapped from the list should they be implicated in "money politics," although they had been declared as qualified by the General Elections Commission (KPU).

KPUD will report its results on the final verification process to the KPU later on Thursday for further checking before the candidates are announced publicly on Dec. 9.

The 36 names on the KPUD list would not automatically be entered for the general election on April 5, 2004, as the KPU would make its decision based on a recommendation from the KPUD, itself determined by significant findings on the candidates.

The 36 candidates have passed the final verification from an initial 74. The remainder comprise 36 who failed in the earlier stage of verification while two others withdrew from the race.

The announcement of the candidates had been originally scheduled for Tuesday but was delayed twice.

Taufik said that most candidates had failed in the factual verification as people, claimed to be their supporters, denied their support when asked by KPUD verification team members.

Only four winning candidates from each province will represent 32 provinces in the DPD. They will team up with 550 members of the House of Representatives to form the People's Consultative Assembly.

A total 575 people took registration forms from the KPUD but only 104 returned them.

For the first time in history, citizens from all over the country will directly elect their DPD candidates in a general election.