Thu, 27 May 2004

Court orders KPU to recount ballot

Muninggar Sri Saraswati, Jakarta

The Constitutional Court ordered on Wednesday the General Elections Commission (KPU) to recount ballot papers in 754 polling stations in Sampang regency on Madura island in a bid to obtain hard evidence for a lawsuit filed by the National Awakening Party (PKB) against the commission.

"Our team, led by Satya Arinanto, will arrive on the island on Friday to witness the recount, along with other witnesses representing 24 political parties and the KPU," Constitutional Court chief Jimly Asshiddiqie told a media conference on Wednesday.

The ballot papers which are to be subject to a recount are from Robatal, Sampang, Kedungdung, Banyuates, Sokobana and Ketang subdistricts.

Data from the KPU and the election commission in Sampang on the results of the ballot counting show discrepancies, Jimly said, hence the need for a recount.

The PKB is challenging the KPU in court over the ballot counting which has cost it a seat in the Sampang regental legislature. PKB claimed it gained 181,095 votes but the local KPU recorded only 178,884.

The court has also ordered that the KPU conduct the recount under the watchful eyes of witnesses from 24 political parties and the court.

"We have asked the police to guard the venues where the ballot recount will take place in Madura and Jakarta to prevent any possible disturbance. The verdict may affect the seat distribution in the regental legislature," Jimly said.

The result of the recount, Jimly said, would be disclosed in a hearing on June 2.

The court is hearing 257 cases filed by 23 political parties and 21 candidates for the Regional Representatives Council within 30 days.