Thu, 03 Apr 2003

Tiny party joins PPP

JAKARTA: The Umat Sovereign Party (PKU) will merge with the United Development Party (PPP) so as to contest the 2004 general election, an official said on Tuesday.

"We have decided to merge with the PPP," PKU chairman Asnawi Latief said after a meeting with Vice President Hamzah Haz, who chairs the PPP, on Tuesday.

Quoting Hamzah, Asnawi said the fusion was strategic and politically valuable, not only for Muslim-based parties in general but to the two parties in particular.

Asnawi said he would call on the chairman of the Reformed PPP, Zainuddin MZ, to rejoin the PPP.

Under the general election law, a party that failed to gain more than 2 percent of the vote in the 1999 election does not qualify to contest the 2004 election. They can form coalitions with other parties to meet the electoral threshold or merge with parties that are already qualified to contest the election.

In the 1999 election, the PKU won only one seat in the House of Representatives and 30 seats in local legislatures. -- Antara