Thu, 18 Dec 2003

KPU to declare controversial DPD aspirants fit to run

Moch. N. Kurniawan The Jakarta Post Jakarta

The General Elections Commission (KPU) looks set to endorse the nomination of three former state officials under the New Order as candidates for the Regional Representatives Council (DPD) representing South Sulawesi.

KPU deputy chairman Ramlan Surbakti said on Wednesday a recheck recently conducted by the South Sulawesi Local Elections Commission (KPUD) under the supervision of the KPU found that former minister Tanri Abeng, former State Logistics Agency (Bulog) chairman Beddu Amang and former Supreme Advisory Council (DPA) chief A.A. Baramuli were residents of the province.

"Based on these findings, there is now a likelihood that these three persons will pass the KPUD screening as DPD candidates," Ramlan told reporters at his office.

The election law requires DPD candidates to have lived in the province they are to represent for three consecutive years prior to their registration or for 10 years from the age of 17.

South Sulawesi's Elections Supervisory Commission (Panwaslu) had found that the three actually lived in Jakarta, therefore making them ineligible to stand for election.

Ramlan said the KPU would refer to the case of former energy and mines minister Ginandjar Kartasasmita, who has qualified to stand for the DPD election representing West Java. Ginandjar, one of the longest serving ministers under former president Soeharto, is the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) deputy speaker, and lives in Jakarta.

Beddu has been convicted of involvement in a graft case -- a conviction since upheld by the Jakarta High Court, although his jail sentence was reduced to two years in jail. He remains free pending a Supreme Court decision on his appeal.

Meanwhile, Tanri is a suspect in the Bank Bali scandal in 1999, but the investigation into his involvement in the case appears to be in limbo.

Ramlan said that if the public had no confidence in Beddu, Tanri and Baramuli, they should not vote for them in the 2004 elections.

Each of the country's 32 provinces will have four representatives in the DPD, which along with the House of Representatives will make up the MPR, the highest law making body.

As of Wednesday evening, no decision had been made by the KPU regarding the fate of the three South Sulawesi candidates. The KPU has pledged to announce the numerical order of DPD members on Wednesday and Thursday.

Ramlan also reminded political parties to submit their campaign fund bank account statements to the KPU by Thursday at the latest.

There will be no punishment for those parties that fail to submit their bank accounts, except for a KPU announcement that the parties in question have not complied with the request.

Separately, Teten Masduki of Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) said that information on party campaign funds should be made public.

"The KPU's refusal to disclose this information to the public means it is monopolizing the information," he said.