Monday, March 19, 2007

MRP backs first local political party in Papua

The Papua People's Congress (Majelis Rakyat Papua), the regional upper house institution comprised of representatives of indigenous community, cultural and women's organisations, supports the formation of Papua province's first local political party, the Partai Kebangkitan Rakyat Papua (Papua People's Awakening Party). MRP Second Vice Chairwoman Hanna Wikoyabi said the movement that led to the new party's establishment could lift the indigenous Papua people's esteem and dignity as it accorded with a provision in Law No 21 on Papua province's Special Autonomy and would enable more indigenous Papuan people to run in legislative elections at national and regional levels.

"The local political party must be a means for people from various walks of life, including women, clergymen, youth, customary communities, to have a chance to win seats in legislatures," she told Antara newsagency. She said although Papuans already served in the Indonesian national parliament and the provincial and municipal assemblies, efforts were needed to increase their numbers in the 2009 general elections.

"So far, there are various groups or people in legislatures who claim to represent the indigenous Papua community but they in reality are unable to voice the aspirations of indigenous Papuans or are just motivated by personal interests so that indigenous Papuans' political rights remain neglected while Papuans themselves are often left to bear certain stigmas within the frame of the unitary state of the Republic of Indonesia," she said.

The MRP's blessing for the PKRP needed to be followed up by the provincial administration by issuing a special regional government regulation on the mechanism for the representation, on the classification and specification of the political rights of indigenous Papuans so that local political parties would have a firmer and more detailed legal umbrella, she said.

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