10 Feb 2006

Papua council demands assurance on gubernatorial election

8:28 am on 10 February 2006

The legislative council for the controversial West Irian Jaya region in Papua province in Indonesia has reportedly urged the central government to provide assurances that it will hold a governor's election.

The Jakarta Post reports the council is demanding that the government finalises details of the poll by the 15th of February otherwise it will go ahead with its own vote.

The controversy over the planned poll in Western Irian Jaya concerns the separation of this western portion of the province from the rest of Papua in 2003, which critics claim is in violation of Papua's regional autonomy.

Both the Papua regional government and provincial legislators claim the central government has betrayed the will of Papuans by splitting the province.

Supporters, including those in the central government in Jakarta and immigrants to Papua from elsewhere in Indonesia, argue that the creation of the new province will help ensure the efficient management of resources and fair distribution of services.