Fri, 16 Jun 2000

Election Commission officialy dissolved

JAKARTA (JP): President Abdurrahman Wahid has issued two decrees on the dissolution of the much-criticized General Elections Commission (KPU) and dismissal of its 53 members.

"All former KPU members are expected to return all facilities, including official cars and cellular phones, to the state," spokesman for the election commission Djoeharmansyah told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

The decrees were officially signed on June 7.

Djoeharmansyah explained that the commission's dissolution was based on amendments to the 1999 law on general elections which was endorsed by the House of Representatives earlier this week.

"The presidential decree will be issued to recruit eleven professionals to establish and run a new and independent general election commission as it is required by the law," he said.

KPU has come under severe criticism for its poor handling of the 1999 general election.

Several staff and members of the commission are undergoing a police investigation over their alleged involvement in the financial leakages during the last election.

But commission members from minority parties are fighting against the decision, claiming it was part of a national conspiracy to discredit their parties.

"The amendment of the general election law is a conspiracy between the government and major parties at the House to suppress minority parties," said Sri Bintang Pamungkas, chairman of the Indonesian Democratic Union Party (PUDI).

Chairman of KPU's executive board Agus Miftach said minority parties would file a lawsuit against the President to the State Administrative Court over the presidential decree.

"The two presidential decrees are the last bullets fired to kill minority parties. This is really a tyranny of the majority against the minority," he said.(rms)