Tuesday, July 25, 2006

First elected governor of Irian Jaya Barat sworn in.

Indonesian Home Minister M Ma'ruf has installed Abraham (Bram) Octavianus Atururi and Rachimin Katjong as the first governor and deputy for the new province of West Irian Jaya. Monday's ceremony, which was attended by at least 3,000 people, was held at the West Irian Jaya Legislative Council compound. Before the swearing in, the council held a special plenary session presided over by speaker Jimmy Demianus Idjie.

The Megawati Soekarnoputri government's effort to establish the province through the 2002 Law on Provinces sparked controversy because it contravened the 2001 Special Autonomy Law for Papua, Nethy Dharma Somba noted in The Jakarta Post. Papuan Province Legislative Council Speaker John Ibo brought the case to the Constitutional Court and last year the court ruled the creation of West Irian Jaya was unconstitutional. However, the court ruled the province should be allowed to go ahead anyway.

Based on this ambiguous decision, the central government continued supporting the existence of West Irian Jaya, which held its first regional election on March 11, a day after Papua province's regional polls. Bram Atururi and running mate Rachimin Katjong won the elections over the pairs Dortheys Asmuruf and Ali Kastella and Yorrys Raweyai-Abdul M. Killian.

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