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Indonesia provinces gear up for election season

Publication Date : 17-01-2013


Authorities and residents in a number of provinces across Indonesia are preparing for upcoming regional elections, locally known as Pilkada, with high expectations of the newly elected leaders.

In Papua, six gubernatorial candidate pairs who will contest the election on January 29 are dominated by bureaucrats, the incumbent and former regents and a former deputy governor.

Of the 12 candidates, 10 are bureaucrats. Candidates No. 2, MR Kambu, a former Jayapura mayor is paired with running mate Blasius Pakage, used to be a Paniai regency secretary.

Only candidate pair Noak Nawipa and John Wob are not career bureaucrats. Nawipa is a lecturer at the Walter Pos Sentani Theology Academy and Wob is a lecturer and politician.

The dominance of bureaucrats, according to Cenderawasih University political observer Bambang Sugiono, is expected to have a positive impact on development in Papua in the future.

“The bureaucrats have had experience during their former tenures, and they are expected to have a good track record,” he said.

Lien Maloali, executive secretary of the NGO, Joint Forum, also expects the elected Papua governor to have a clear vision in developing the province as well as favouring the native people in accordance with Law No. 21/2001 on Papua special autonomy.

According to Lien, development in Papua has so far only scratched the surface of the issue and has not addressed the core of the problem. Lien added that in Wamena, many local people still wore the koteka penile guard and sali (a skirt made from woven tree bark to cover the lower part of a woman’s body,
leaving the breasts bare).

“They need more than clothing to cover their bodies; they also need healthy and decent homes to live in, access to health care when they’re sick and adequate nutrition for their children,” said Lien.

Meanwhile, in West Java, 32.5 million eligible voters will cast their votes in the West Java gubernatorial election in February, as determined at a plenary session held at the West Java General Elections Commission (KPUD), which presented an eligible voters’ list covering 26 regencies and municipalities.

Based on the number of voters on the voters’ list, the KPUD is preparing the logistics, including ballot papers and boxes, and polling stations.

“We will set up 74,948 polling stations,” said KPUD head Yayat Hidayat in Bandung on Tuesday.

In Medan, North Sumatra, the Bukit Barisan Military Command said it would deploy soldiers to assist police in securing the North Sumatra gubernatorial election on March 7 this year.

North Sumatra Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Heru Prakoso said that overall, 17,000 police officers and 14,000 military personnel would be deployed to secure the election.

Heru added that security for the North Sumatra gubernatorial election would officially commence on Feb. 18 until the swearing-in ceremony in June.

“As many as 46,000 community protection [Linmas] members will be posted to secure polling stations,” said Heru, adding that 26,000 polling stations would be set up for the election.


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