Indonesia officially kicked off a nine-month election campaign on Saturday, 12 July by inviting all eligible political parties to sign a declaration that they will campaign peacefully. Thirty-four parties are eligible to take part in the campaign for the legislative elections on April 9, 2009.
The National Elections Commission (KPU) hopes that the effort would prevent 'black' campaigns and show commitment to obey the recently issued regulation on the election campaign.
The decree, issued three days before the campaign kicks off, allows the election campaign to be run through limited meetings, indoor and general meetings or advertisements in the print and electronic media. Campaigners are banned from providing or promising money or other incentives to participants during the campaign.
The decree also prohibits state officials -- including the President, Vice President, ministers, governors and lawmakers -- from using state facilities such as cars, government buildings or other office equipment in the campaign. Each state official and lawmaker who wants to campaign should take leave and report it to the KPU three days before the campaign period, it said.
Vice President Jusuf Kalla said he would allow any ministers who are also party executives to take part in the campaign as long as it did not distract them from their main duties.
Three ministers hold a party chairman position: Forestry Minister Malam Sambat Ka'ban of the Crescent Star Party (PBB), State Minister for Women's Empowerment Meuthia Farida Hatta of the Justice and Unity Party (PKP) and State Minister for Cooperatives, Small and Medium Enterprises Suryadharma Ali of the United Development Party (PPP).
The long electioneering period is feared to increase uncertainty for the country and a reluctance in making new policies that may be unpopular. Reports on an influx black funds for campaigning has already been reported. There has also been a recent incident of demonstrations turning violent near Parliament House.
http: Source: Jakarta Post 12 July, Party leaders asked to ensure peaceful rallies //old.thejakartapost.com/detailheadlines.asp?fileid=20080712.@01&irec=0