Concerns Over Poll Logistics in Papua

Concerns Over Poll Logistics in Papua

The Jakarta Globe Saturday, March 7, 2009,
Camelia Pasandaran & Christian Motte

Despite calls from Papua Governor Barnabas Suebu for immediate government aid to ensure that election logistics are in place in time for the legislative polls, the General Elections Commission, or KPU, said that everything was under control.

"The distribution of ballot papers to all Papua districts is almost done," KPU member Abdul Aziz said on Friday. "Only a few remaining areas are left, such as Waropen, because ballots for the district were sent by mistake to West Papua [province]."

He said that the smooth running of the election was the responsibility of the District Election Commissions, or KPUD, and if they encountered difficulties, they could ask for additional help from the government or the Indonesian Armed Forces.

The Ministry of Home Affairs last week issued a regulation that all provincial governments should allocate enough money from the regional budget to assist in the distribution of election materials.

"There are still more than 30 days to go [before the elections]," Aziz said. "I’d guess delivery of materials from the district to the polling stations shouldn’t take longer than ten days."

Aziz also played down concerns about the required revisions to the final voter list, which contains at least 127,000 ‘ghost voters’.

"There will be a problem if voters are left unregistered. [To deal with the problem] we just need to make sure ballot paper numbers correspond to the number of real voters."

Speaking earlier on Friday, Governor Suebu appealed for government help to ensure election materials reached remote and inaccessible areas.

He feared that without government support, deliveries to sub-district levels would be delayed.

"Logistics are tough in Papua Province," Suebu said. "Some 70 percent of the trip requires air lifts, while the rest is delivered by land, sea and river."

He asked the KPU to intensify the spread the information about the 2009 polls. "To be honest, Papuans only have a limited awareness about the elections."

He also hoped that KPU would immediately appoint an Election Monitoring Committee at a sub-district level to ensure an honest, safe and fair election.