|07SURABAYA59||2007-10-22 11:11:00||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY||Consulate Surabaya|
VZCZCXRO5705 RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM DE RUEHJS #0059 2951111 ZNR UUUUU ZZH R 221111Z OCT 07 FM AMCONSUL SURABAYA TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0083 INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0026 RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA 0075 RUEHPB/AMEMBASSY PORT MORESBY 0007 RUEHJS/AMCONSUL SURABAYA 0085 RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0009 RHHMUNA/USPACOM HONOLULU HI RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 0024
UNCLAS SURABAYA 000059
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Violence and confusion continues to plague
the race for Governor and Vice Governor in the Province of North
Maluku. The official start date for the campaign has changed
three times amid violent physical assaults and accusations of
favoritism on the part of the Provincial Election Commission
(KPUD). A 19 October brawl between followers of the Sultan of
Ternate and supporters of the incumbents shows that the official
campaign season, which started on 17 October, will likely travel
a very rocky road to election day on November 3. And there is
always the possibility that the election will be rescheduled yet
again. END SUMMARY
2. (SBU) S. Ahmad of the North Maluku Provincial Election
Commission (KPUD) told Consulate General Surabaya that the date
of North Maluku's election has been changed from October 25 to
November 3 as a result of requests by the challengers.
Previously, the North Maluku KPUD scheduled the start of the
campaign on October 5 and election day on 25 October. Mr. Yamin
Tawary, former Chairman of North Maluku Golkar, told us that
challengers forced the KPUD to abandon its original decision to
start the campaign on October 5 because campaign activities
would break the electorate's concentration during Ramadan
fasting. Tawary said the KPUD caved in to this pressure and
agreed to postpone the start of the campaign to October 17.
Tawary also told us that KPUD members were known to favor
certain candidates and this cast suspicion on their decisions.
The chairman of KPUD supports the incumbents while the other
members are supporters of various challengers, said Tawary.
Provincial media reported that anger over the KPUD's decision
and suspected double-counting of potential voters in some
districts resulted in an assault on Rusli Djalil, the Head of
the Ternate Election Commission, and his staff by a group of
angry citizens on 11 October.
3. (SBU) The incumbent Governor Thaib Armaiyin, and his running
mate Abdul Ghani Kasuba are supported by three parties: the
Prosperity and Justice Party (PKS), the Democratic Party (PD),
and the Crescent Star Party (PBB). Their supporters disagreed
with the postponement of the campaign, arguing that Ramadan is
not an emergency circumstance. Tawary told the Consulate that
the fight over timing has more to do with campaign strategy on
both sides than with Ramadan. If the election runs beyond their
term of office, the incumbents lose access to official vehicles,
offices and staff.
4. (SBU) All four pairs of gubernatorial and vice gubernatorial
candidates were scheduled to kick off their campaigns on 17
October by presenting their campaign vision and mission at the
offices of the North Maluku KPUD. The challengers appeared, but
the incumbents failed to do so, opting instead for a separate
rally on 19 October. Groups allied with the Sultan of Ternate
assaulted supporters of Armaiyin and Kasuba at the event,
accusing them of using a field adjacent to the Sultan's palace
without permission. One representative from the incumbents'
campaign was beaten by the Sultan's supporters and sustained
critical head injuries according to local press reports.
Although sporadic violence continues in North Maluku, according
to S. Ahmad of the KPUD, all preparations for election day are
on track. According to Yamin Tawary, however, the Election
Oversight Committee (Panwasda) has discovered that voter rolls
are still incomplete. The KPUD is unprepared for any elections,
this month or next, said Tamary.