National

Five new parties prepare
for verification process

Five new political parties that have completed the administrative requirements are gearing up to face the government’s fact-checking process on the parties’ resources in the regions, the last part of the verification to determine their eligibility to contest the upcoming 2014 polls.

The five parties, namely the National Archipelago Prosperity Party (PKBN), the Nasdem Party, the Functional Republic Party (Pakar), the Union of Independent People’s Party (SRI) and the Independent Party, are subject to the Law and Human Rights Ministry’s upcoming fact-checking process that commences this week, according to the ministry’s state administration director Asyarie Syihabudin.

Another nine new political parties, which had also filed applications with the ministry, will not be subject to the process because the parties left their administrative documents incomplete despite the ministry’s call for additional document submission.

“The results of the fact-checking process will be announced by Law and Human Rights Minister Patrialis Akbar by the end of October,” Asyarie told The Jakarta Post on Monday.

During the process, ministry officials will be deployed to see if the parties’ local branches really exist and if the offices have obtained permission from local authorities. The ministry will also look at the organizational structure of each party, down to its local branches.

Asyarie said he did not know why the nine parties had succumbed and ignored the ministry’s call for document completion.

Many have complained about the 2011 Political Parties Law, which they say has set difficult requirements such as the obligation to have branch offices in all of the country’s 33 provinces, 75 percent of the cities and regencies in each province and 50 percent of the districts in each city and regency.

In June, members and supporters of the SRI Party, which supports former finance minister Sri Mulyani
Indrawati for president, filed a judicial review with the Constitutional Court to challenge the law, which they said violated civic rights to form a political party as mandated by the Constitution.

One of the petitioners, SRI Party chairman Damianus Taufan, said during the review that only rich citizens could form political parties since the obligation to establish so many local branches would cost
billions of rupiah.

In their press statement, the petitioners said it would cost at least Rp 200 million (US$22,000) just to buy seals for official documents. With the country’s 497 cities and regencies as well as about 6,300 districts, it would cost an additional Rp 7.04 billion for rent, assuming a small office cost Rp 2 million in annual rent.

Last month, the court turned down the plaintiff’s request, saying the branch requirements were normal. Damianus, however, said he was still optimistic that his party would pass the government’s fact-checking process.

“We actually didn’t have enough money to establish local branches, but supporters were eager to donate private funds,” he said, adding that the party had spent about Rp 500 million ahead of the government’s verification process.

Zanuba Arifah Chafsoh, better known as Yenny Wahid, the chairwoman of the PKBN, said she did not know how much money the party had spent to face government’s verification.

“Most of our funds came from supporters. Thank God we have die-hard supporters. I cried after learning that our cadres in Papua had to sell their pigs to buy tickets to Papua’s capital of Jayapura to deal with the administrative requirements needed to establish our party’s local branches there,” said the daughter of Indonesia’s fourth president, Abdurrahman “Gus Dur” Wahid. Yenny said her party had so far established 444 regency and city branches as well as about 3,300 district offices.

Many PKBN members are former National Awakening Party (PKB) supporters.

Nasdem Party chairman Patrice Rio Capella, meanwhile, said that his party had been ready for the fact-checking process for weeks.

The Nasdem Party is linked to the National Democrats mass organization founded by media mogul Surya Paloh, a former chief patron of the Golkar Party.

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