Fri, 05 Dec 2003

U.S. provides $24m for elections

JAKARTA: U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia Ralph L. Boyce handed over on Thursday financial assistance worth US$24 million for the upcoming elections to the General Elections Commission (KPU).

"It is a tremendous undertaking (the elections). We are providing assistance to our fellow country Indonesia, and yet, the foreign assistance is a tiny part of the overall cost of the elections, which will be three times the 1999 election," Boyce told reporters.

Boyce reiterated that his government was concerned about the process of the first direct elections in the country.

"As long as the process if free, fair and peaceful, it will be a victory for everyone. We are very concerned about the process. We really mean that," he said in a press conference.

The press conference was attended by KPU Chairman Nazaruddin Syamsuddin, KPU member Hamid, Awaluddin and USAID representative William Frej.

Frej said the financial assistance was dedicated for voter education, to support some four million vote monitors, to provide assistance for disabled voters as well as to boost women's representation in the elections.

Indonesia will hold a legislative election in April 2004 and its first ever direct presidential election in July 2004. -- JP