Wed, 17 Dec 2003

Lampung council challenges Alzier's election annulment

Oyos Saroso HN, The Jakarta Post, Bandarlampung, Lampung

Lampung legislative council leaders said on Tuesday that they will this week file a request for a judicial review of the central government's recent decision to annul the gubernatorial election of Alzier Dianis Tabrani, currently standing trial for graft.

The request will be submitted to the Constitutional Commission to challenge Decree No. 161.27-589/2003 issued earlier this month by Minister of Home Affairs Hari Sabarno, council speaker Abbas Hadisunyoto said.

"This decision has been taken after we considered input from seven factions in the council and legal experts from the University of Lampung (Unila)," he told The Jakarta Post.

The ministerial policy was followed by Presidential Decree No. 262/M/2003 that appointed one of Hari's aides, Tursandi Alwi, as the acting governor of Lampung.

Abbas was in Jakarta on Tuesday along with his deputies Zulkarnain and Mochtar Hasan to seek support for the council's efforts to put pressure on President Megawati Soekarnoputri to revoke her decree and install Alzier as the new governor.

"The point is that we want President Megawati to respect the political process in the Lampung legislature that elected Alzier Dianis Thabranie as the new governor," Abbas said.

Alzier won the gubernatorial election in December 2002 democratically, defeating the then incumbent governor, Oemarsono, who was backed by Megawati.

Megawati later fired Alzier as a member of her Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) for defying her order to support Oemarsono's reelection bid.

While police laid graft charges against him, Hari delayed swearing in the governor-elect for almost one year and finally decided to annul his election.

Both the PDI-P faction and the military-police faction in the Lampung council gave backing to the annulment of Alzier's victory and to plans for the legislature to rehold a gubernatorial race.

However, five other factions were undecided whether to support or oppose Abbas' plan to file a request for a judicial review of the annulment policy.

"Our faction's stance is clear. We agree with the President and the home minister. The presidential decree means we should hold a revote," PDI-P faction chairperson Nurhasanah said.

She promised her party would not thwart any attempts by the council leaders to bring the political bickering over the Lampung governorship to the Constitutional Court.

Echoing Abbas' statement, his deputy Mochtar Hasan said the central government's decision to annul Alzier's election should be reviewed legally.

"The reason for the annulment is not substantially and legally clear. There is no regulation allowing the home minister to annul the results of a regional election. Therefore, the annulment should be reviewed by the Constitutional Court to determine whether the decision is legally flawed or not," he argued.

Meanwhile, a team of lawyers said it would file a class-action suit against the central government over the annulment of Alzier's election.

"As lawyers for councillors in Lampung, we will submit a class-action suit against President Megawati and Minister of Home Affairs Hari Sabarno with the Central Jakarta District Court," Habiburrokhman, coordinator of the Lampung People Justice Defenders' Team (TPKRL), said.