Parties start charging legislator candidates

The Jakarta Post, November 10, 2003

Moch. N. Kurniawan and ID Nugroho, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta/Surabaya

jakartapost_logoAn independent election watchdog has alleged that some political parties are charging legislator hopefuls administrative fees of up to Rp 16 million (US$1,900).

Independent Committee for Election Monitoring (KIPP) executive Pipit Rochiyat Kartawidjaja said on Saturday the fees were being used to finance the parties’ campaigns for the 2004 elections.

„This is a dilemma because if those candidates get elected, they will feel they have the right to corrupt at least the equivalent of the amount they contributed to the parties,“ Pipit said.

He said the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party for Struggle (PDI Perjuangan), Golkar, the National Awakening Party (PKB) and the National Mandate Party (PAN) were requiring legislator aspirants to pay millions of rupiah.

For example, the PAN branch in Deli Serdang, North Sumatra, is charging the party’s regency and municipality legislative candidates an administrative fee of Rp 16 million, Pipit said.

In other regencies, PAN is asking its legislative candidates to pay Rp 7 million, he said.

PDI Perjuangan, Golkar and the PKB are charging their legislative candidates Rp 1.5 million administrative fees, he said.

Pipit said Golkar charged candidates between Rp 200 million and Rp 300 million to get a position near the top of the list for provincial legislative councils.

For the House of Representatives, Golkar requires hopefuls to pay Rp 400 million to secure a top position on the party’s list of House legislative candidates, he said.

The secretary of the Golkar faction in the House, Yahya Zaini, acknowledged that some parties were charging administrative fees but denied that Golkar was involved in the practice.

„We are still considering whether or not to impose an administrative fee following a proposal from our regional offices,“ he said.

Yahya said these fees were acceptable as long as they did not affect the party’s decision on which legislative candidates to field.

Indonesia will hold a legislative election on April 5, 2004, and a presidential election on July 5, with the runoff election to be held on Sept. 20 if necessary.

Separately, PDI Perjuangan secretary-general Sutjipto said incumbent legislators should offer financial support to the party for their renomination in next year’s elections.

„There should be a meeting to decide the amount legislators should donate,“ he said in Surabaya.

„Otherwise, the legislators will be perceived as thankless members of the party. Many own a number of cars that they would not have been able to afford had they not been legislators.“

However, he said this did not mean that only the rich could be become PDI Perjuangan legislators. <>

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