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Graft claims stain Jakarta polls

Governor candidates accused of buying votes with cash, medical care

Millions of Jakarta residents will go to the polls tomorrow to elect a new city governor, but watchdog groups say voting irregularity is rampant. Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) found incidents of payments, ambulance supply, free medical treatment and social work from campaigns in cases ranging from 20,000 rupiah (about US$2) to six million rupiah. ICW also found irregularities by the provincial election commission. A street vendor, who refused to be named, said he was given money by a campaign team working from June 24 to July 7. “It is common,” he said. “It always happens whenever there are elections for president, legislators, governor or district head." He maintained that the payment would not change his vote. Despite the alleged buying of votes, university student Patris Paat said it will not prevent him from voting the way he wants to, either. “It is the right of all people here to vote. I don’t care about that issue,” he said. The provincial election commission said more than 6.9 million people are expected to turn out to vote for their choice of six candidates, five backed by political parties and one independent. The chairman of the election monitoring committee, who goes by the single name Ramdansyah, said the commission will warn candidates allegedly involved in money politic cases, but he admitted that the election commission does not have complete authority to deal with money laundering or corruption.
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