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Nationwide campaign for election system begins JAKARTA - President Megawati Soekarnoputri launched on Monday a joint nationwide campaign with the General Elections Commission (KPU) to introduce the new electoral system to ensure the success of the 2004 general elections. Saying that the country would hold its first ever direct presidential election in 2004, Megawati said it was important for the information dissemination process to begin as early as possible.
"We want to make sure that as many people as possible will participate in the coming elections, so it can give true legitimacy to the next leader," Megawati said in the ceremony. She underlined that the campaign was not meant to support any particular political party, but was purely to ensure the success of the elections. "It is in the interest of the government to see that the upcoming elections will succeed, as it is a government program," she stressed.
Megawati has been nominated by her Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) as its sole presidential candidate. KPU chairman Nazaruddin Syamsuddin said the public campaign would be conducted through the media, such as television and radio, and through information dissemination activities involving regional administration heads. He said the information dissemination program would be carried out in three stages starting Sept. 2003, and would last until Oct. 2004.
"The first stage will run from September through December this year, with the main agenda of introducing the new electoral system and the KPU. "From February through April (2004), we will disseminate information about the legislative election and from May through October, about the two-stage presidential election," he said. During the campaign, the KPU would be supported by regional administrations, which would organize public forums for KPU members to explain the new electoral system to locals.
Indonesia will hold its legislative election in April 2004 and two-stage direct presidential election in July and September. Mock elections organized by the Center for Electoral Reform (Cetro) across the country suggested that most people, did not understand how the new electoral system worked. Under the new Election Law, ballot papers for next year's legislative and presidential elections would bear not only symbols of political parties, but also the names and photographs of candidates.
Many have suggested that voters would be confused by the new system, as each ballot paper would consist of many candidates. With over 20 political parties expected to contest the elections, the country might see long ballot papers. Nazaruddin also introduced the electoral mascot, a ballot-box cartoon character with eyes, ears and limbs.
The election also has a theme song, which was aired on television and radio stations nationwide starting Monday. "There will be 145 million potential voters, and we hope to ensure that as many people as possible join the coming elections," Nazaruddin said. Separately, House of Representatives (DPR) Speaker Akbar Tandjung welcomed the launch of the nationwide public awareness campaign on the general elections.
He said the campaign would help the people understand the new electoral system and its implementation. "The success of the election depends on the participation of the people," Akbar said at the opening of the House's new session on Monday.



Posted in Elections @ 28 October 2003 00:05 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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