Jayapura – A number of political parties in Papua have established a tariff for anyone wishing to nominate themselves as a regent, deputy-regent, mayor or deputy-mayor. The provision is an internal party matter so the amount of the tariff will vary, as there are no precise regulations on the illegal collection of money by political parties.
A member of Papua’s provincial National Election Committee (KPUD) in Jayapura, Pdt Romboirussi, confirmed this on Thursday May 12. Information has been circulating among the public that political parties are currently reaping a profit from social groups who want to nominate themselves to be elected as regents.
“The tariff for perspective candidates which has been set by the political parties is referred to as a contribution to the party. There are no independent candidates1 so those who wish to nominate themselves have to fulfill the political parties’ requirements. In most cases the only ones who have the money to pay political parties [to be nominated as] regents/deputy-regents or majors/deputy-mayors are local government officials and businesspeople”, said Rombuirussi.
According to Rombuirussi, there has yet to be an official report from a prospective candidate or specific organisation on the collection of money by political parties from candidates. Among the public however there is already much talk about these uncontrolled collections.
The KPUD does not have the authority to control political parties in such matters. The regional Election Supervisory Committee (Panwas Pilkada) which does have the right to supervise matters related to money politics, has almost no authority in the regional elections.
Gustur Ohoiwutun, the coordinator of the success team for two candidates running for the regent and deputy-regent of the Asmat for the period 2005-10, JP Ohoiwutun and Harun Yaran, said that the two had failed because they did not have the funds to make a deposit with the Golkar branch’s board of directors (DPC) for the Asmat regency. “Actually, JP Ohoiwutun and Yaran were previously supported by Golkar’s [members of the] DPD [Regional Representatives Council]. There was even a special letter signed by the DPD chairperson from the Golkar Party, John Ibo, to Golkar’s Asmat DPC asking them to support the Ohoiwutun and Yaran duet as prospective candidates for regent and deputy-regent of Asmat”, said Yaran.
The Asmat Golkar Party DPC has instead chosen Benyamin Simatupang, the former deputy-regent of Merauke for the period 2000-05. Simatupang is suspected to have paid Golkar’s DPC as much as 100 million rupiah as well as covering the cost of various essentials for the Golkar’s Asmat branch. Simatupang denies that the payment is a form of money politics saying that he is a Golkar Party member and obliged therefore to assist the party in paying for the party’s needs.
For the nomination of the governor of Papua for the period 2005-10 meanwhile, political parties have set a tariff of 1 billion rupiah for those who want to become candidates. The size of the tariff however is not the same for all candidates. If they are an ordinary citizen who doesn’t have a large amount of funds, the political parties limit it to 500 million rupiah. But if the prospective candidate is an active government official they are obliged to pay 1 billion rupiah. (kor)
1. According to the law on regional elections, all independent candidates must be nominated by a political party or group of parties that secured at least 15 percent of the vote or seats in the local legislature.
[Translated by James Balowski.]