Fri, 22 Aug 2003

KPU allocates 550 House seats for 32 provinces

Moch. N. Kurniawan, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The General Elections Commission (KPU) announced on Thursday the allocation of 550 seats of the House of Representatives for 30 provinces with five new provinces securing at least three seats through the 2004 legislative elections.

KPU chairman Nazaruddin Syamsuddin said that the KPU was somewhat late in allocating the seats, as it had to be accurate in the counting because the issue was a sensitive one.

"We must be accurate in determining the seat allocation. That is why it was announced late," he said in a press conference after the commission's plenary meeting.

Based on its own schedule, the KPU should have announced the allocation of the House seats early last month.

KPU member Anas Purbaningrum said the KPU conducted a study with a lengthy dialog to ensure a fair distribution of the 550 House seats for all provinces.

The distribution of the House seats is based on the quota and the population size as stipulated in Law No. 12/2003 on general elections.

According to the law, the provinces with a bigger population have a maximum quota of 425,000 people per seat while the provinces with a smaller population have a minimum quota of 3,245,000 people per seat.

The law also stipulates that each province must have a similar number of seats as it obtained in the 1999 elections and new provinces -- Riau Islands and West Irian Jaya -- are allotted at least with three seats.

According to the KPU, Anas said, a combination of new provinces and their mother province would obtain a similar number of seats to those of the mother province in the 1999 election.

Based on this assumption, if the mother province had seven seats in the 1999 elections a new province may obtain three seats from its mother province, he said.

For example, Gorontalo which was separated from its mother province of North Sulawesi, would take three seats of the seven seats obtained by North Sulawesi in the last elections.

This method also applies to the other new provinces of Banten, Riau islands, Bangka Belitung, North Maluku and West Irian Jaya, he said.

Anas explained that the KPU calculated the quota of each province based on the 1999 seats, resulting in eight provinces with a quota of less than 325,000 per seat, nine provinces that have a quota of between 325,000 and 425,000 per seat, and 15 provinces with a quota of over 425,000 per seat, Anas said.

The eight provinces with a quota of less than 325,000 are West Sumatra, South Kalimantan, Gorontalo, East Nusa Tenggara, North Maluku, West Irian Jaya and Papua.

The nine provinces with a quota of between 325,000 and 425,000 are Aceh, Bengkulu, Riau islands, Bangka and Belitung, Bali, East Kalimantan, South Sulawesi, Southeast Sulawesi, and Maluku.

"With such a calculation 17 provinces will obtain a total of 134 seats and the 15 others will get 416 seats," he said.

The remaining 15 provinces are North Sumatra, Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, Lampung, Jakarta, West Java, Banten, Central Java, Yogyakarta, East Java, West Nusa Tenggara, West Kalimantan, North Sulawesi, and Central Sulawesi.

Regarding the seat allocation for the two newly formed provinces of Riau islands and West Irian Jaya, KPU deputy chairman Ramlan Surbakti said the KPU had referred to the recent letter of Minister of Home Affairs Hari Sabarno who said the two new provinces already had a functioning administration.

"We will only recognize new provinces if the provinces have been established by law and they already have administrations," he said.

The government has not yet appointed acting governors for the two new provinces although their administration has already been established.