Thu, 27 May 2004

City's registered voters total 7 million for election

Bambang Nurbianto, Jakarta

The Jakarta General Elections Commission (KPU Jakarta) recorded 555,881 more voters as the registration for presidential election closed on Tuesday, making a total of 7,050,332 eligible voters for the presidential election.

KPU Jakarta chairman Muhamad Taufik said on Wednesday that the figure included all five municipalities and the Thousand Islands regency.

The largest number, or 171,286 new voters, come from West Jakarta, followed by North Jakarta with 128,172, East Jakarta 113,598, South Jakarta 77,271, Central Jakarta 64,522, and 1,032 people from Thousand Island regency.

Previously, KPU Jakarta registered 6,494,451 eligible voters for the April 5 legislative election, but only around 4.4 million voters were recorded on the election day.

The poll commission argued that there were many migrants who cast their votes in their hometowns.

However, the latest registration -- involving heads of community and neighborhood units who made door-to-door house calls -- only garnered about half of KPU Jakarta's earlier estimation of 1.1 million new voters.

"I believe that the number of newly registered voters reflects the serious work of the community and neighborhood unit heads who know best the residents in their area. It means that nearly all people in the city have been registered," Taufik said.

He added that the head of community and neighborhood units were paid Rp 500 (less than 6 US cents) for each person they registered.

KPU Jakarta members met on Wednesday the campaign team leaders of presidential candidates to discuss the schedule for the election campaigns except Wiranto's campaign team members who were in Yogyakarta.

The meeting, however, was inconclusive, as each team was still waiting for the national schedules.

Taufik said the campaign in the city would be kicked off with a joint carnival on June 1, in which each candidate would be permitted to send a maximum 10 decorated vehicles.

The General Elections Commission gave the first campaign time slot to Hamzah Haz and Agum Gumelar, followed by Wiranto- Solahuddin Wahid, Megawati Soekarnoputri-Hasyim Muzadi, Amien Rais-Siswono Yudohusodo, and lastly Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono- Jusuf Kalla.

Candidates and their respective teams will hold outdoor campaigns at the provincial level and indoor campaigns at municipal and regental levels.

Taufik stressed that candidates were not allowed to campaign at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle.