Sat, 27 Sep 2003

KPU allots extra seats in 37 electoral districts

Moch. N. Kurniawan, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The General Elections Commission (KPU) has allocated more than 12 seats in provincial and regency/municipality legislative councils in 37 electoral districts, which is in breach of the law.

"The KPU has no choice but to violate the law," its deputy chairman Ramlan Surbakti said on Friday.

Law No. 12/2003 on elections stipulates that one electoral district is allocated between three and 12 seats.

"Under the state administrative law, the KPU has discretionary powers to take special measures in circumstances that were not taken into account by lawmakers during the drafting of the law. Besides, the KPU will also seek a legal opinion from the Supreme Court regarding this decision," he argued.

Among the electoral districts allocated more seats than their fair share are Tangerang regency with 27 seats, Serang regency (15), both in Banten; South Jakarta (16), East Jakarta (21), and West Jakarta (18); Sleman regency (16), Bantul regency (14), both in Yogyakarta; Palembang municipality (13) in South Sumatra; Batam (21) in Riau; Deli Serdang regency (15) and Medan municipality (14) in North Sumatra; Rejang Lebong regency (13) in Bengkulu; Gorontalo regency (16) in Gorontalo; East Lombok regency (14) in West Nusa Tenggara; and Central Maluku (19) in Maluku.

The KPU could have split a regency/municipality and subdistrict into several electoral districts, but this would also violate the Election Law, he said.

This is not the first time the KPU has deviated from the law. Earlier, it decided to merge Tebing Tinggi municipality (1 seat) with Deli Serdang regency (15 seats) into one electoral district with 16 seats and integrated Bau Bau city with Buton regency into one electoral district with 13 seats.

According to the law, one electoral district consists of a regency or a combination of regencies/municipalities.

The KPU's decision to allot seats of between six and 12 seats to one electoral district is aimed at allowing new political parties equal opportunity to compete with the existing parties, albeit with several exceptions.

One of the exceptions is to categorize a regency/municipality or subdistrict with more than 12 seats as one electoral district, which is in line with the proportional electoral system.

Another exception is to classify a regency/municipality or subdistrict with three to five seats as one electoral district due to transportation problems. This is applied for remote areas that make access difficult.

Also on Friday, the KPU distributed the electoral district map for provincial and regencies/municipalities legislative councils among the Regional General Elections Commissions (KPUDs).

The map provides a comprehensive picture of the number of electoral districts, their locations and seat allocations.

Jakarta, for example, is divided into five electoral districts to be allocated with 75 seats in the Jakarta Provincial Legislative Council.

Electoral district one is Central Jakarta with eight seats, electoral district two is East Jakarta (21), electoral district three is South Jakarta (16), electoral district four is West Jakarta (18) and electoral district five is North Jakarta and Seribu Islands, with a total of 12 seats.

Bali is split into seven electoral districts to be allotted 55 seats in its Provincial Legislative Council.

Electoral district one is Denpasar with eight seats, electoral district two is Badung (7), electoral district three consists of Tabanan and Jembrana with 11 seats, electoral district four is Buleleng (10), electoral district five consists of Bangli and Klungkung with a total of six seats, electoral district six is Karangasem (6) and electoral district seven is Gianyar (7).

There are a total of 69 electoral districts for seats in the House of Representatives, 200 electoral districts for seats in provincial legislative councils, and 1,565 electoral districts for the seats in regencies/municipalities legislative councils.