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PPP sees possibility of setback implementing 1997 elections

Kompas - February 16, 1997

Jakarta – The Secretary General of the Central Leading Board of the United Development Party (DPP PPP) Tosari Widjaya clarified, that the DPP PPP sees the possibility of a setback in the implementation of the General Elections (Pemilu) of 1997. This is caused by ever increasing restrictions which briddle freedom, particularly in implementing Pemilu campaigns.

Tosari disclosed this after the internal meeting of the DPP PPP on Saturday (15/2) at the DPP PPP office in Jakarta. Present were also the General Chairman of the DPP PPP Ismail Hasan Metareum and the Chairmen of the DPP PPP.

Taking as an example the Decree (SK) of the Minister of Information No. 012/Kep/Mempen/1997 especially concerning the stipulation for the moderator of the agenda and the stipulation that only the chairman of the party may give a monologue speech for the radio and television, Tosari considers that this regulation can remove the independence and freedom to stipulate who shall be assigned.

"If such a regulation is stipulated, it means that we have lost our independence to stipulate," he said.

He clarified that a campaign in a monologue form will at least be performed two times and conveyed by the party's general chairman. It may not be done if it is not the party's general chairman except if the hindred person can be replaced with a written mandate.

"Is not this also removing the freedom. Actually it must just be left to the DPP. Later on the DPP can assign the Secretary General, the DPP Chairman, the Vice Secretary General or even a Moslem scholar who we will give a recommendation," he said.

Another restriction concerns the text of the campaigning speech. He said that the DPP PPP had no objection if said text had to be submitted to the screening committee as long as the substance which they wanted to convey was not lost.

"But if the screening committee just starts cutting so that the spirit and information which we want to convey is lost, is not that no campaign anymore," said Tosari.

He added, if the text concerned a basic principle which we want to convey, this is no problem. But if the questions and answers must be arranged, the dynamics of a dialogue are clearly lost while what is expected is exactly a dialogue. "If from the side of texts there are restrictions and the content of the recording is also cut, the dialogue dynamics for political education will be lost," Tosari stressed.

Conveyed to minister

Tosari stated, what became the focus of the results of the DPP PPP internal meeting will soonest be conveyed to the Minister of Home Affairs, including the objections of the DPP PPP regarding the Decree of the Minister of Information which regulates the coverage and directives for the field (juklap) from the Police Headquarters No. Pol. Juklap/01/I/1997 particularly concerning the use of vehicles for campaigning participants.

"As far as I remember there was formerly no regulation which stipulated that the vehicles had to be registered. Now it must even be registered seven days before implementing the campaign," he said.

The DPP PPP is according to Tosari not in possession of vehicles to transport the masses, even for the interest of the campaigns they often have to look for passing vehicles according to him, a moment before implementing the campaign, so that it is impossible to register it one week before.

"The impression is that we shall find difficulties to meet this stipulation. If that is not fulfilled, may there be no campaign? Is this what is called a Pemilu with quality?" Tosari demanded.

The DPP PPP besides sending a letter to the General Elections Institute (LPU) will also send a delegation to discuss the difficulties which probably will be faced with the intention to obtain clarity and at the same time ease in order that no new problems will exactly arise. "The community starts to become critical in political problems, don't they," he said.

Another restriction is that a campaigner may not criticize. According to Tosari this must also be clear, what kind of critic is not allowed. "If the policy of the Regional Government proves to be wrong for instance, may that not be criticized? If a campaigner is forbidden to speak, will it not cause unrest in the community?"

Tosari asked while reminding that this must be anticipated that no anarchy will arise by a group of the society which intentionally wants to provoke.

He clarified that the DPP PPP never thought that PPP would win, but how can the people follow the Pemilu in a democratic way without having difficulties in participating in the Pemilu.

"That has become our concern. That at one time PPP will win, that is our hope. But if PPP wins with the people black and blue, that is not our hope," Tosari stressed.

He hoped that the mass media could cover objectively and in a balanced way the developments of the campaigns. According to Tosari the press should be given the chance to release the results of various voting places (TPS), not the result of the figures from the computer, because the press is according to him one of the channels of the aspirations of the community.

"You (reporters, Red.) may next not write the results from the TPS. The DPP PPP expects that the press is now allowed to cover it to show the real quality of the Pemilu.(*)