Tue, 10 Jun 2003

PDI-P candidate loses, Mega stops inauguration

Yuli Tri Suwarni and Azis Tunny, The Jakarta Post, Bandung/Ambon

The central government has delayed the inauguration of West Java governor-elect Danny Setiawan and his deputy Nu'man Abdul Hakim, without explanation, but one legislator alleged that party politics and sour grapes were behind the move.

The outgoing governor R. Nuriana's tenure was extended for a month.

President Megawati Soekarnoputri has yet to issue a decree on the inauguration of Danny and his deputy which was scheduled for June 9.

The delay of the new governor's inauguration has raised confusion among local politicians, but according to Article 49 of Law No. 22 on regional autonomy the President has full authority to accept or to reject governors elected by provincial legislatures.

Nuriana, whose term of office was to officially end on June 8 received a telegram from Home Minister Hari Sabarno, which called for his tenure to be extended until July 8. He also must report his daily activities directly to the home minister and would not be allowed to make decisions on important matters.

Nuriana confirmed on Monday that he received the telegram and he would hold a hearing with the council to discuss the agenda for the next month.

Chairman of the provincial legislature Eka Santosa said he was not shocked by central government's decision as the home minister had signaled that a delay of the new governor's inauguration was possible when the gubernatorial election committee met with him in Jakarta recently.

"We will go to Jakarta immediately to get certainty of the new governor's inauguration. The President has the authority to make such a decision, but the council representing the West Java people has a right to question that decision," he said.

Koerdi Moekri, deputy chairman of the provincial legislature, expressed his confusion over the central government's decision, saying a clear explanation about the delay of the new governor's inauguration was urgent to avoid unrest among local people.

A councillor who asked for anonymity said the delay was directly related to the defeat of Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) candidates in the gubernatorial election. Megawati is the chairwoman of PDI Perjuangan.

Tayo Tarmadi and his running mate Rudy Harsa Tanaya were nominated by PDI Perjuangan and the National Awakening Party (PKB) but were defeated by Danny and Nu'man who were nominated by the Golkar Party and United Development Party (PPP).

Tayo garnered 39 of 100 votes while Danny received 49. As many as eleven legislators, several of whom were believed to be PDI Perjuangan councillors, abstained and another walked out without voting.

In another local election, Maluku provincial legislature chairman Zeth Sahuburua said that the council was making preliminary preparations for the gubernatorial election which had been delayed since September 2002 for security reasons.

He said the council had made rulings on gubernatorial elections and the election schedule that would be sent to the civilian emergency administration to gain approval.

The central government appointed Sinyo Herman Sarundayang as acting governor to replace Saleh Latuconsina whose term ended last September, until the council elects a permanent governor for the 2003-2008 period.