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Cablegate: East Nusa Tenggara: Campaigns, Corruption and Creativity

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RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJS #0054 2881010
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 151010Z OCT 07
FM AMCONSUL SURABAYA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0074
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0017
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA 0066
RUEHPB/AMEMBASSY PORT MORESBY 0004
RUEHJS/AMCONSUL SURABAYA 0076
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0006
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 0015
RUEHDT/AMEMBASSY DILI 0002

UNCLAS SURABAYA 000054

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, IRN/EAP, DRL/PHD, INL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KISL KCOR ID
SUBJECT: EAST NUSA TENGGARA: CAMPAIGNS, CORRUPTION AND CREATIVITY


This message is sensitive but unclassified. Please protect
accordingly.

1. (SBU) Surabaya Pol/Econ Officer and Pol/Econ Assistant met
with the leadership of Golkar and the Indonesian Democratic
Party of Struggle (PDI-P) during a recent visit to East Nusa
Tenggara (NTT). These political parties currently hold 21 and
12 seats respectively of the 55 total seats in NTT's Provincial
Legislature. During separate meetings on October 3, leadership
of the two parties expressed nearly identical campaign
platforms: assisting rural development and improving education,
health, and infrastructure. PDI-P's Megawati carried NTT in the
2004 presidential race and PDI-P will try to translate this into
a local victory and overcome Golkar's majority in next year's
provincial elections. PDI-P will succeed only if they can use
economic development and anti-corruption as rallying cries to
beat Golkar's entrenched organization and cadre structure.

Golkar's Tour d'Horizon: Corruption and Creativity
--------------------------------------------- -------

2. (SBU) We met with the Regent of Kupang, Ibrahim Agustinus
Medah, just seven days before the head of the NTT provincial
police called for his indictment on corruption charges. During
our 10 October meeting, Medah wasted no time in preempting our
questions about corruption in NTT. Blaming regional autonomy,
he pointed to the new challenges of big budget fiscal
management, "A leader first and foremost needs creativity and a
vision in order to use financial resources. Corruption is a
problem here, but due to a lack of information the average
villager is unaware of it. It's the NGOs and media who focus on
corruption." Indeed the Consulate's NGOs contacts in NTT
mentioned Medah's corruption as emblematic of the mismanagement
of the general allocation fund (DAU) province-wide. Once source
at Catholic Relief Services told us he had learned that DAU
funds were moved into and out of various banks in a misguided
effort to earn interest.

3. (SBU) Nobody in NTT suggested that pending corruption
charges would be anything other than a speed bump for sitting
officials like Medah and five others who have been publicly
accused. Prospects for Golkar in the 2008 election are good
according to Medah, who speculated that while only 10% of NTT
has ready access to information about Golkar's candidates, the
rest of the rural population will make it to the polling
stations through the efforts of party cadre on the scene.
"Making people aware of our mission and vision is a real
challenge here," said Medah. He put the level of voter
participation between 80-90% and attributed any lack of
participation to geographical limitations, limited penetration
of media, and poor infrastructure.

PDI-P: The Search for Post "Big Man" Politics
--------------------------------------------- ---

4. (SBU) PDI-P party officials were also optimistic and said
they expect victory in the legislative and gubernatorial
elections. PDI-P's presidential candidate Megawati carried the
province during the national elections in 2004 and the NTT party
secretary hopes that this national victory can be translated

SIPDIS
into a local one next year. PDI-P will seek to burnish its
reputation as the party of the common man, while painting Golkar
as the party of corrupt bureaucrats. The ten PDI-P Party
workers and officials who met with us in their party offices
told us that PDI-P is a young party and a draws its members from
all levels of NTT population; farmers, fishermen and small
business people. Citing the advantages of Golkar incumbency,
PDI-P officials said campaigning on the issues against Golkar's
well-known "big figures" is easily stymied by well-organized
Golkar cadres who get out the vote. They hope to counteract
this advantage by educating voters and an improving their own
get-out-the-vote effort.

MCCLELLAND

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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