Mon, 16 Jun 2003

Councillors unsure about attending governor installation

Apriadi Gunawan, The Jakarta Post, Medan, North Sumatra

Several North Sumatra councillors have yet to make up their mind to attend the installation of governor-elect T. Rizal Nurdin and deputy Rudolf Pardede due to their disappointment over the presidential decree naming them as the new leaders of the province.

Councillor Aziz Angkat of Golkar Party faction said on Saturday that he was disappointed as the allegation that Pardede had submitted a fake high school diploma for his candidacy was still unsolved.

"We already have evidence of Pardede's fake diploma and we have handed it over to the Ministry of Home Affairs but the central government has still decided to install him as deputy governor," he said.

However, Aziz said that so far there was no official instruction from the party to boycott the ceremony, which is slated for Monday. Home minister Hari Sabarno is scheduled to swear in Rizal and Pardede.

Councillor Sigit Pramono Asri of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) said that he had also not made a decision to attend the installation ceremony.

"My attendance depends on my party's stance," he said, adding that he had not received any invitation for Monday's event.

President Megawati Soekarnoputri, who is also chairwoman of the Indonesian Democratic Party for Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) signed the presidential decree on June 13 naming Rizal and Pardede as the North Sumatra governor and deputy governor respectively.

Both Rizal and Pardede were nominated by PDI Perjuangan and won the vote on May 26 against nominees Chairuman Harahap and Serta Ginting of Golkar Party.

Pardede -- son of the late T.D. Pardede, a successful businessman -- failed to show his high school diploma when running for the province's number two position.

The 1999 regional autonomy law requires gubernatorial and deputy gubernatorial candidates to at least be senior high school graduates with a senior high school diploma before they can run for governor.

Councillor Kamaluddin Harahap of the National Awakening Party (PAN) said that although Pardede would be sworn in on Monday, the legal process must go on.

He said that Government Regulation No. 151 states that if any candidate for governor or deputy governor was proven to have submitted a fake diploma, he or she should be removed from the position.

"The position will remain vacant for five years until the next gubernatorial election," he added.

The governor will carry on his duties with the assistance of provincial secretary and the staff.

The North Sumatra Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Amrin Karim said the police have not declared Pardede guilty because a team was still investigating the case in the Penabur Sukabumi Christian high school.

The school principal Martha Christiawati said in a letter dated May 28, 2003, that there was no student named Rudolf Mazuoka Pardede in the school's records.