Wed, 24 Mar 1999

Voting booths and ballot boxes to cost Rp 1.7b

JAKARTA (JP): The price for voting booths and ballot boxes for the June 7 general election in the capital is estimated at more than Rp 1.7 billion, a city official said on Tuesday.

The official at the city's social political affairs directorate, who asked for anonymity, said the amount did not include money needed to make and place political banners along the city's main thoroughfares as promised by Governor Sutiyoso.

The city's 1999/2000 draft budget stipulates the city administration will allocate Rp 17 billion for the election.

"The price for the voting booths and ballot boxes will be much higher than the election in 1997 when Rp 19,000 was allocated for each voting station," he said, adding the price had jumped to Rp 80,000.

The cost of a ballot box will also rise to between Rp 60,000 and Rp 70,000 from Rp 12,500 in 1997, he said, adding the price increase was caused mainly by the skyrocketing prices of materials.

Meanwhile, Effendi Anas, head of the directorate's office of public and general education affairs, said on Tuesday there would be 11,784 voting stations in the city. Each station will be equipped with one ballot box and each box will be accommodate 500 voters, he added.

"The boxes should be prepared at least one week before the election, but we still haven't been informed about their physical specifications, like width, color or materials to be used in their construction."

"I hope we will be told the specifications soon," he said.

Effendi said the administration could not use old ballot boxes because most of them had been broken.

The government recently announced 48 political parties qualified to contest the election.

Some 5.8 million people in the city are expected to vote in the election, a drop from 7.4 million in the 1997 election. One reason for the projected decline in voters is because ballots for Indonesians living overseas will no longer be counted as party of the city's vote, Effendi said.

"It (the drop in the number of voters) is also caused by the fact that civil servants, many of whom live in Greater Jakarta, will no longer vote at their offices but at their residential complexes so their votes won't be counted here." (ind)