Wed, 23 Feb 2000

KPU steadfast over planned local elections

JAKARTA (JP): The General Elections Commission (KPU) reiterated on Tuesday local elections in newly established provinces and regencies would take place despite challenges from the government and major factions in the House of Representatives.

Agus Miftach, who chairs the KPU-sanctioned local elections committee, said there was no reason to cancel the planned polls, particularly because local committees in the three provinces and 21 regencies were prepared for the elections.

"Although there are certain parties trying to cancel the local elections, we will continue with our plan," Agus, who represents the Indonesian People's Party (Pari) in the KPU, said.

He said local elections were planned for June 7 in North Maluku, West Irian Jaya and Central Irian Jaya.

The polls, which will elect representatives to the local legislatures, will cost KPU Rp 100 billion, Agus said, adding that the new provinces would provide some of the funding for the elections.

KPU has estimated total expenditure for the elections at Rp 220 billion.

Minister of Home Affairs Surjadi Soedirdja said earlier the government planned to disband KPU and replace it with a professional and impartial body, as required by the State Policy Guidelines.

Surjadi also said the planned elections would be postponed due to financial and security considerations.

The plan to dissolve KPU has drawn some protest, particularly from minor political parties that failed to win 2 percent of the vote in last year's general election, making them ineligible for the 2004 polls. (jun)