Tue, 18 Mar 2003

KPU resists any intervention

Arya Abhiseka, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The General Elections Commission (KPU) has resisted intervention from the government and legislators who wanted to influence the commission's election timetable.

KPU chairman Nazaruddin Sjamsuddin told The Jakarta Post on Monday that both the government and several legislators had criticized the commission for not consulting them in determining the election date.

"It is not stipulated in the law that the KPU must consult the House or the government in regards this matter. We are exercising our rights as an independent body as written in law," Nazaruddin said.

He did not reveal the names of the legislators trying to influence the commission in setting the election schedule.

KPU has decided to hold elections for legislative members on April 5, 2004, with the results to be announced on May 5, while the government had requested that the general elections be held in March next year.

Nazaruddin said the House and the government were the two parties responsible for passing the newly endorsed election law, which ruled that the KPU was the sole independent body with the authority to organize the elections, including the election dates.

"The House and the government should have stayed true to their commitment to let the KPU act as an independent body," he said.

Meanwhile, several parties had expressed their support over the decision made by the KPU and their readiness to comply with the new election schedule.

Ali Masykur Musa, spokesman from the National Awakening Party (PKB), said that his party fully supported the decision and was ready to readjust the party's preparatory process to match the election schedule.

"We do not view the schedule as a threat to our party's preparation for the next election," he said.

Rully Chairul Azwar, spokesman from the Golkar Party, also affirmed that his party was ready to make some adjustments in order to meet the new schedule.

"We have taken some anticipatory measures and will not be affected by the new ruling. The newly approved election date is ideal," he said.

On the same occasion, Nazaruddin also confirmed that the KPU had considered holding the presidential election around June next year.

"We have budgeted about Rp 800 billion (US$90 million) for the two-stage presidential election and are still awaiting the presidential election bill to be passed," he said.