By James Balowski
On February 24, the Indonesian language news service SiaR reported that the government body (P-4 Depkeh) overseeing registrations for Indonesia's July 7 election has "postponed" accepting an application to register the People's Democratic Party (PRD).
P-4 Depkeh member H. Mohammad Zein admitted that the PRD had fulfilled all the administrative requirements, but said the body was concerned over the PRD's use of "leftist" terms such as "people's social democracy" and "progressive revolutionary" in the application.
P-4 Depkeh says it will "consult" with the political general directorate of the Department of Home Affairs and the State Intelligence Coordinating Body about the application.
The head of the central leadership committee of the PRD, Faisal Reza, told SiaR, "This proves that the paradigm of the Habibie regime in managing the state is still the same as the Suharto regime".
Indonesian academic Dr Dede Oetomo, who recently addressed a public meeting in Sydney, agreed, saying that the P-4 Depkeh was in danger of becoming a censorship body. "This is just like the New Order government in shackling the political activities and critical thinking of pro-democracy activists", he said.
So far, 49 new political parties have applied to register but only 17 have met the administrative requirements. Registrations closed on February 22.