Headlines

Sri Mulyani supporters
face tough test

Supporters of Sri Mulyani now have only a slim chance of establishing a political party as a platform to nominate the former finance minister for the 2014 presidential election following a ruling by the Constitutional Court on Thursday.

They failed in their attempt to bypass the political party verification process at the Law and Human Rights Ministry after the Court ruled that the Union of Independent People (SRI) should abide by the 2011 Political Parties Law requiring all parties to have representative offices in at least 75 percent of all municipalities and regencies and 50 percent of districts in all 33 provinces.

The ruling means that the members of the party, established on May 2 this year, only have until Aug. 22 to meet all requirements after registering at the Law and Human Rights Ministry.

“The political parties law should consider the growing population. The regulation to establish branches in all regions is appropriate, and this is a requirement that should be met relatively easily by the parties,” the Court ruling read.

SRI chairman Damianus Taufan called the ruling disappointing, adding that the law complicated citizens’ desire to establish a political party. “This is a democratic country, but the regulation to form a party makes the process difficult and expensive,” he said.

“However, we will be able to fulfill all requirements on time,” he said.

Sri Mulyani served as finance minister under President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono from 2005 until 2010. She was forced to leave the Cabinet after major political parties put pressure on the President to oust her for her liberal economic ideology and her role in the controversial Bank Century bailout. She was subsequently appointed as a World Bank managing director.

Sri Mulyani supporters, including veteran journalist and poet Goenawan Mohamad, veteran politician Abdul Rahman Tolleng, political scientist Arbi Sanit and veteran journalist Fikri Jufri, took the case to the Court.

Rahman Tolleng said he was confident as SRI’s preparations were 50 percent complete.

“We still have time,” he said.

Speaking after the officially registering the party Wednesday, Taufan dismissed speculation by some politicians and retired Army generals that SRI received foreign funding.

“We don’t have foreign donors,” Taufan, a human rights activist, said.

“The cost [to establish all branch offices] will be high. All our members work hard because some of us also donate our money,” he said.

The Court previously turned down a similar request from several small political parties. (lfr)

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