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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs                            5  September 2011

Wikileaks releases Indonesia election cables

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A leaked confidential US diplomatic cable reveals that the US Embassy in Jakarta believed the 2007 gubernatorial election won by Fauzi Bowo had been “rigged” by the capital’s elites.

The cable, dated April 25, 2007, ahead of the election, was among the unredacted cables released by WikiLeaks over the past week. It is believed to have been written by the then-deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy, John Heffern.

“Voters hungry for a serious campaign about the myriad problems afflicting a city still reeling from devastating flooding will have to content themselves with ‘a campaign’ between two candidates who bought their way into contention and squeezed out all competition,” the cable reads.

“Despite the intense press coverage of the election and its national importance, the Jakarta elites have rigged the game.”

The cable said a number of sources, including a member of the Golkar Party central board named Dadan Irawan, told the embassy that former Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso was supporting Fauzi financially because Fauzi would “reward this loyalty by blocking any efforts to investigate Sutiyoso’s murky business dealings after he departs office.”

Fauzi, it said, was also expected to allow Sutiyoso to continue the money-making opportunities he had enjoyed as governor.

“Our contacts tell us that Vice Governor Fauzi purchased the support of three of the four largest political parties in Jakarta for at least Rp 5 billion apiece [$555,000],” the cable says, referring to the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), Golkar, and the Democratic Party.

The largest, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), already had its own financial backing as its candidate, Adang Daradjatun, a former deputy chief of the National Police, reportedly paid the party between Rp 15 billion and Rp 25 billion for its support.

“Jakarta governor’s race will, in some fashion, serve as a litmus test for the 2009 presidential election,” the cable said.


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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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