Sat, 03 Apr 2004

Party symbols remain in place

Bambang Nurbianto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Despite the fact that the cooling-off period following the official election campaign was supposed to mean the ridding of the city of election posters and banners, many areas of the city were still awash with them on Friday.

There was hardly any sign of party workers removing the flags, posters, banners and stickers that they had erected or plastered so enthusiastically all along the city's main streets at the outset of the campaign.

Instead it fell to thousands of city employees to roll up their sleeves and get down to the nitty-gritty of removing the disfiguring campaign materials from the walls of flyovers, pedestrian bridges, bus shelters and just about every other available space.

The cleanup began at midnight on Friday after Deputy Governor Fauzi Bowo symbolically lowered the flags of the 24 political parties that had been flying at City Hall since March 11.

Among the election materials still in evidence in the city were giant banners touting the merits of candidates for the City Council, House of Representatives and the Regional Representatives Council.

Jakarta General Elections Commission (KPU Jakarta) Directive No. 12/2004 gives parties and candidates the opportunity to remove their own promotional materials following the 22-day campaign period.

"We will give the candidates the chance to remove their own stuff from the streets from 12 p.m. on Thursday to 6 p.m. on Friday. After that, we will deploy our own people to remove the campaign materials," KPU Jakarta chairman Muhamad Taufik told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

Large quantities of promotional materials were still to be found in residential areas around the city.

In Setiabudi district, South Jakarta, there were still several large banners for the United Development Party (PPP). The same applied in a number of places in Ciputat, Tangerang.

On Jl. Kelapa Dua Wetan, East Jakarta, a large mock bull erected by workers for the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) was still standing tall by the roadside, Antara reported.

Taufik stressed that all party attributes had to be totally removed from public places by Sunday.