Tue, 10 Oct 2000

PKP to change name in 2004 elections

JAKARTA (JP): The Justice and Unity Party (PKP) intends to change its name if it cannot suspend the implementation of a minimum threshold requirement which would bar it from contesting in the 2004 general election.

Party chairman Gen. (ret.) Edi Sudrajat said on Monday the party's name might be changed to the Justice and Nation Unity Party (PKPB).

"We are committed to maintaining the party and not coalescing with other parties," said Edi, former Minister of Defense/Chief of the Indonesian Military.

PKP currently has four legislators in the 500-member House of Representatives.

According to Law No. 3/1999, a party should secure at least 10 seats in the House to be able to contest in the next election.

One alternative for parties who do not meet the requirement is to change their name and apply as a new party.

Edi said his party is currently striving to amend or postpone the application of the law.

He maintains that it was unfairly applied as most of the parties which contested the 1999 general election were new parties with little preparation.

"We just prepared the party three months before the elections. So it's not fair," Edi contended.

He said new parties, such as the National Awakening Party (PKB) and the National Mandate Party (PAN), were able to secure a significant number of votes because they were based on the two largest Muslim organizations Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah respectively.

PKP is regarded as a splinter of the Golkar Party.

Edi, who was deputy chairman of Golkar, was defeated by Akbar Tandjung during Golkar's chairmanship election in July 1998.

Meanwhile, the party's secretary-general, Hayono Isman, said the party would hold its first congress here from Oct. 16 until Oct. 18, to elect its new national leadership.

Former Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs, Hayono mentioned several names, including himself, Edi and Minister of Transportation Agum Gumelar, as candidates for the chair.

He said the congress would be attended by about 1,170 representatives from across the country. (jun)