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Cablegate: South Sulawesi: Election Results Are in, the Losers Sue,

VZCZCXRO8158
RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJS #0074/01 3201021
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 161021Z NOV 07
FM AMCONSUL SURABAYA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0108
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0045
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA 0098
RUEHPB/AMEMBASSY PORT MORESBY 0015
RUEHJS/AMCONSUL SURABAYA 0110
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0018
RUEHC/USAID WASHDC
RHHMUNA/USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 0043

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 SURABAYA 000074

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

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

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KISL KCOR ID
SUBJECT: SOUTH SULAWESI: ELECTION RESULTS ARE IN, THE LOSERS SUE,
CLASHES STAY SMALL

REF: SURABAYA 72; SURABAYA 57

SURABAYA 00000074 001.2 OF 002


This message is sensitive but unclassified. Please protect
accordingly.

1. (SBU) Summary: The November 16 official announcement of
election results failed to dampen controversy surrounding who
won the race for South Sulawesi Governor. Now abandoned by
national Golkar Party leadership, defeated incumbent Amin Syam
and Vice Governor candidate Mansur Ramly have announced
intentions to file suit in Indonesia's Supreme Court. The
Provincial Election Commission has given all losing candidates a
deadline of November 19 to file suit over alleged
irregularities. Tensions have escalated since announcement of
the razor thin (0.76 percent) margin of victory. Minor
altercations between campaign supporters over the past 11 days
have been kept under control by police. Signs point toward a
long court battle rather than a battle on the streets. End
Summary.

2. (U) On November 16, the Provincial Election Commission (KPU)
formally announced that challenger Syahrul Yasin Limpo and Agus
Arifin Nu'man had been elected Governor and Vice Governor,
respectively, of South Sulawesi. When making the announcement,
the KPU stated that the losing candidates would have three days,
until November 19, to file law suits challenging the results to
the Supreme Court. Representatives of defeated incumbent Amin
Syam and third-place challenger Abdul Aziz Qahhar Mudzakkar
refused to sign the final vote tallies on November 15, claiming
their complaints about election irregularities had not been
investigated by KPU. (Surabaya 72)

Incumbent Blind Sided by the People and His Party -- Golkar
--------------------------------------------- --------------
-------------

3. (SBU) In public comments, defeated incumbent Amin Syam was
unbowed; "I don't want to lose to cheaters." He insisted that
there were serious irregularities during the election that went
uninvestigated by the KPU and urged the South Sulawesi Elections
Commission to postpone official announcement of the results.
Amin Syam also criticized the national Golkar leadership for
"carelessness" in issuing a statement accepting defeat in South
Sulawesi without consulting him. Vice President and National
Golkar Party Chairman Jusuf Kalla accepted Syahrul's victory,
calling it an "all Golkar final" and glossing over his very
public support for the losing candidates (Surabaya 57). Now
abandoned by his party, Syam clings to the hope that the Supreme
Court will see things his way. Local media commentators
wondered aloud how Kalla could still harbor ambitions for
President when he appeared tone deaf to politics in his home
province.

Scattered Altercations But Nothing Widespread
--------------------------------------------- -------------

4. (SBU) Some 100 supporters of Amin Syam rioted at the offices
of the Election Monitoring Committee (Panwaslu), on November 15,
according to local media reports. The building also houses the
Indonesian Journalist Association (PWI). The mob broke windows
and some hit passing cars with sticks and their fists. Police
arrested three men believed to be the provocateurs of the
incident. Also on November 15, some hundreds of supporters of
the incumbent demonstrated outside a Makassar country club where
final confirmation of the votes was taking place under the eyes
of representatives from the candidates. Some of the
demonstrators held signs criticizing corruption and calling for
new elections in three districts: Gowa, Takalar, and Tana
Toraja, according to media reports. An NGO representative in
Makassar familiar with the election told us that he feared more
violence. Police have been successful to date in preventing
clashes between groups of supporters.

What We Saw on Election Day
--------------------------------------

5. (SBU) On election day November 5, Pol/Econ officer, Pol/Econ
Assistant and Political Officers from Embassy Jakarta visited
two polling stations (TPU) in Makassar, guided by the local head
of the KPU Mr. Mappinawang. The arrangements and atmosphere at
both places suggested a well-organized effort. We left the KPU
offices, guarded by twenty-odd Provincial Police armed with
rubber bullets and teargas grenade launchers, to visit TPU in

SURABAYA 00000074 002.2 OF 002


two parts of Makassar. Each TPU is responsible for collecting
votes from roughly five to eight hundred voters. In the 20
minutes we spent at one polling place just before noon, only
three or four voters cast ballots. KPU workers explained that
nearly all people on the station's register had voted soon after
the polls opened. Scattered protests regarding voter
registration did not become widespread on Election Day according
to our observation, KPU officials and media reports.

6. (SBU) The challenges facing voter education were clear
during our visit. Near one polling station in a Makassar
suburb, a man who lives next door to a polling station spoke
with us outside his home. He said he had been refused his right
to vote and showed us his voter registration card from the 2004
presidential election. He didn't understand why it was now
invalid. KPU Head Mappinawang had earlier told us that basic
ignorance of the process was the real cause of protests during
the election. Rumors of a mid-election change in law in which
the national identity card (KTP) would be accepted at polling
stations only accelerated the flow of puzzled and ineligible
voters to polling places. Leaders at one mosque had told people
assembled for prayers that regulations would be changed on
Election Day, according to Mappinawang, who was unclear
regarding the specifics of the rumor.

7. (SBU) KPU efforts to educate voters were evident around the
city on Election Day. While driving between polling places we
saw banners near two intersections explaining the need to
reregister for the current election. Mappinawang told us that
radio and television reminders regarding the need to register
were frequent in the run-up to Election Day. The KPU Head also
lamented the poor accuracy of 2004 voter data provided by the
Province's Population Office and said the outdated rolls were
causing considerable confusion. He hoped that the 2009 election
will use new data and that its collection will be in the hands
of the KPU rather than local officials

Press Coverage of Our Visit
----------------------------------

8. (U) Our visit to Makassar polling stations was reported on
election night on TVRI South Sulawesi, and several local
newspapers the following day. National coverage of our visit
appeared in Tempo magazine's online service TempoInteraktif, and
the GOI's official news service, Antara. Many Makassar
residents expressed curiosity about any US official interest in
helping one or another candidate get elected. In an effort to
avoid the appearance of interference in the process, we avoided
visiting a polling station near the Governor's residence.
MCCLELLAND

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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