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Cablegate: North Maluku: Continuing Gubernatorial Election Uncertainty

VZCZCXRO5657
RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJS #0020 0430836
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 120836Z FEB 08
FM AMCONSUL SURABAYA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0156
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA 0143
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0077
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 0075
RUEHJS/AMCONSUL SURABAYA 0161

UNCLAS SURABAYA 000020

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, INR/EAP, DRL/PHD, INL, S/CT

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC PGOV PREL ID
SUBJECT: NORTH MALUKU: CONTINUING GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION UNCERTAINTY
TRIGGERS EXPLOSION

REF: A. SURABAYA 16 (CLASH IN CENTRAL MALUKU)

B. SURABAYA 14 (SULTAN OF TERNATE AS MEDIATOR) AND PREVIOUS

This Message is Sensitive But Unclassified. Please Protect
Accordingly.

1. (SBU) Summary: On February 11, a low-explosive, hand-made
bomb exploded outside the Ternate residence of the head of the
North Maluku High Court. There were no reports of injuries.
Although no group has claimed responsibility, the bomb was
reportedly an attempt to put pressure on local officials
responsible for a recount in the disputed gubernatorial
election. While demonstrations to date have been peaceful,
local observers are concerned that protests could turn
"chaotic." Also on February 11, in Jakarta, the "chairman" of
the North Maluku Election Commission was arrested after
announcing incumbent governor Thaib Armyn had won the recount.
End Summary.

Low-Explosive Bombs in Ternate
-----------------------------------------

2. (U) According to press reports, a low-explosive, home-made
bomb exploded in front of the garage at the official residence
of Kamaruddin Kurip, the head of the North Maluku High Court,
early on Monday, February 11, 2008. There were no reports of
injuries; two nearby cars suffered minimal damage. Kurip and
his wife were reportedly in Jakarta at the time of the
explosion. A similar bomb was discovered in front of the North
Maluku Governor's office, but did not explode. The police and
Indonesian military (TNI) are conducting an investigation into
the incident. There have been no claims of responsibility

3. (SBU) A North Maluku police contact told ConGen Surabaya that
police are continuing to investigate the incident to identify
the perpetrator and the motive. They believe that both bombs
were meant as a threat from those parties disappointed by recent
court decisions on the disputed North Maluku gubernatorial
election. As of 1530 local time February 12, Ternate is calm.
The North Maluku police are preparing for a series of
demonstrations in coming days protesting Jakarta's involvement
in North Maluku's election.

4. (SBU) Local academic and media contacts told ConGen Surabaya
that both incidents were an attempt to put pressure on Kurip,
who is the senior provincial judicial official charged with
implementing the January 23, 2008, Supreme Court ruling, which
determined that the North Maluku Election Commission (KPUD) --
not the National Election Commission -- had jurisdiction to
decide the winner of gubernatorial election (Surabaya 14). More
than 100 followers of Abdul Gafur, whose victory had been
nullified by the Supreme Court's decision, had peacefully
demonstrated in front of the Governor's Office on February 11 to
protest the announcement by the KPUD that incumbent Thaib Armyn
won. Local observers expressed concern that similar
demonstrations could easily become "chaotic."

Meanwhile, in Jakarta...
----------------------------

5. (SBU) Alwi Sagaf, Director of "Diahi" radio station in
Ternate, told us that the people of North Maluku are tired of
the prolonged dispute. Neither candidate enjoyed much popular
support. He explained that Thaib Armyn's performance as governor
had been poor, while Abdul Gafur was perceived as an old-time
Golkar party functionary. Alwi added that he had heard from
sources within the Governor's office that acting Governor Timbul
Sugianti had discovered many financial irregularities associated
with Thaib's administration.

6. (U) According to press reports, Jakarta police arrested Rahmi
Husien, the "non-active" chairman of the North Maluku KPUD,
immediately after he announced the results of the KPUD's recount
on February 11. He was reportedly accused of illegal activity
and giving false testimony during the election dispute trial.
Abdul Hafis Anshari, the chairman on the National Election
Commission, told reporters that the KPUD's recount was
illegitimate because Rahmi Husien was no longer an "active"
member of the KPUD. In addition, the local election monitoring
body (panwasda) did not attend the recount.

MCCLELLAND

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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