Thu, 04 Mar 1999

Parties asked to maintain security

JAKARTA (JP): Governor Sutiyoso is planning to invite leaders of all political parties eligible for the June general election to discuss how to maintain security and create peaceful campaigns in the capital ahead of the poll.

"I will invite them immediately after the government announces the eligible contestants for the upcoming election," the governor told reporters on Wednesday.

During the meeting, he said, the leaders "will be asked to be responsible for all of their respective supporters in order to prevent any possible clashes in the city," he said.

According to him, the big number of contestants in the upcoming elections would create "difficulties" for the city administration.

More than 140 parties have registered with the Ministry of Justice to contest the poll. As a comparison, there were only three parties contesting previous elections.

According to the schedule, the eligible parties for this year's election were to be announced last night.

On Tuesday night, Sutiyoso met scores of the city's high ranking officials at City Hall, including Jakarta Military Commander Maj. Gen. Djadja Suparman, City Police Chief Maj. Gen. Noegroho Djajusman and all deputy governors to discuss election security matters.

The meeting, which lasted until midnight, was however closed to reporters. The media were even forbidden to approach the meeting room.

Sutiyoso said on Wednesday that one of the results of the meeting was that parties were forbidden to place their political banners along the city's main thoroughfares by themselves.

"It's the city administration which will organize and place them so that they won't damage the city's beauty," he said.

The governor also insisted that all city officials and security officers would be neutral toward the contesting parties. (ind)