Mon, 01 Dec 2003

KPU worries about late party screening

Moch. N. Kurniawan, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Less than half of 32 provincial elections commission (KPUDs) have submitted the results of their field verification on 40 political parties, raising fears the slow progress would severely affect preparations for next year's elections.

KPU deputy chairman Ramlan Surbakti said over the weekend that only 14 provincial KPUDs had submitted their reports by Saturday, two days after the deadline lapsed last Thursday.

Ramlan said other KPUDs were expected to hand in their factual verification results in the next few days with Papua being the latest on Dec. 6.

All 32 provincial KPUDs were supposed to submit their reports on Nov. 27, but only four -- Bali, Lampung, South Sulawesi, and East Kalimantan -- made the deadline.

Central Java, Jambi and North Sulawesi KPUDs submitted their reports on Saturday.

Ramlan said that KPU would announce in stages political parties eligible for next year's elections. The commission had planned to announce the names of political parties endorsed by the KPU to join next year's elections on Dec. 2, 2003.

Ramlan had said earlier that transportation difficulties, especially during the Idul Fitri celebrations when millions of people across the country travel to their hometowns, was one of the causes of the delay.

Asked whether the announcement of the numerical order of the parties on Dec. 8 would be affected by the slow process of factual verification, Ramlan said he did not think so.

Should the announcement be delayed because of the slow process of factual screening, the nomination period for legislator hopefuls would be shortened, he said. He did not go into details.

According to the KPU schedule, political parties will start taking forms for legislative aspirants from KPU and forms for provincial and regental/municipal hopefuls from KPUDs from Dec. 9 through Dec. 19.

The parties must return the forms between Dec. 22 and Dec. 29, with verification by KPU scheduled from Dec. 23 through Jan. 5.

The screening results will be announced from Dec. 27 through Jan. 12, 2004, with the chance given for political parties to improve the requirements submitted for legislative aspirants from Dec. 29 through Jan 19.

KPU will decide the final list of legislative aspirants on Jan. 27, and announce it between Jan. 28 and Jan. 29.

Some non-governmental organizations and scholars have criticized KPU for not meeting its schedule for the 2004 election preparations.

Earlier, KPU failed to complete on time the national population and voter census, party administrative screening and electoral district mapping.

Indonesia will hold its legislative election on April 5 and two-stage direct presidential elections on July 5 and Sept. 20.

Ramlan also said that KPU was planning to hold a plenary session on Monday to make a decision on the factual screening of several parties, endorse its electoral district mapping instructions, and instructions on the procedure for the nomination of legislators.

Meanwhile, some parties, such as the Bhinneka Indonesia Party (PBI), the Gotong Royong Party and the Indonesian Democratic Catholic Party (PKDI) have filed objections with KPU over press reports that they were among the list of 13 parties that might not qualify for next year's election.

PKDI had asked KPU to review the outcome of factual verification in Bali as the party was disqualified by the Bali KPUD due to one membership card problem, Ramlan said.

"KPUDs will respond any objections from political parties that think they should have passed the factual screening," he said.