Thu, 04 Dec 2003

KPUD delays announcing DPD candidates again

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The local General Elections Commission (KPUD) in Jakarta once again delayed on Wednesday its announcement of the names of the candidates eligible to stand next year for the Regional Representatives Council.

Jakarta KPUD chairman M. Taufik said the commission's members needed to reassess the documents submitted by a number of candidates before the list of DPD candidates is announced to the public on Thursday. Earlier, a number of signatures on nomination papers were found to be forged, and some candidates had forged documents evidencing their education.

"Because this relates to the interest of the public, we must be very careful in making decisions," Taufik told The Jakarta Post.

The Jakarta KPUD had previously announced the names of eight parties that had failed to meet the requirements for participating in next year's elections. A number of executives of these parties then threatened to bring their "supporters" out on to the streets to protest the KPUD decision. Taufik denied suggestions that the latest delay was linked to these threats.

A total of 575 people obtained DPD registration forms from the KPUD but only forms were returned or fulfilled the requirements. Only 74 candidates met the administrative requirements, but one later withdrew.

KPUD members conducted factual verification in respect of the 73 remaining candidates last month to further check up on the applicants' qualifications.

According to Taufik, less than 40 candidates passed the final verification stage. He said that most had failed because the people whom they claimed to be their supports denied this when asked by verification officers.

He said some candidates used fake school diplomas in their applications while there were indications that others had resorted to bribery.

For the first time, the residents of each province will directly elect candidates to the DPD during the legislative elections slated for April 5.

Four candidates will be elected from each of the country's 32 provinces. Under the country's new constitutional arrangements, the DPD together with the 550-member House of Representatives will jointly constitute the People's Consultative Assembly.

Noted figures taking part in the DPD race in Jakarta include businessman Pontjo Sutowo, legislator Aberson M. Sihaloho, former environment minister Sarwono Kusumaatmadja, former student activist Hariman Siregar, rally driver Helmy Sungkar and entrepreneurs Mooryati Soedibyo and Kemala Motik.

Several Betawi (native Jakartan) figures, such as the chairman of the Betawi Brotherhood Forum (FBR) Fadloli El Muhir, Muslim preacher Soerjani Tohir and Biem T. Benyamin, son of the late actor Benyamin Sueb, also plan to run.