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Australian support for 2009 Indonesian elections.



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The Hon Stephen Smith MP AUSTRALIAN MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Media release

12 November 2008

Australian support for 2009 Indonesian elections Australia will provide over $6million to assist Indonesia prepare for and hold Parliamentary and Presidential elections, scheduled to commence in April 2009.

This funding builds on Australia’s strong support for democratic elections in Indonesia over a decade. In 1999, Australia provided $15 million in election assistance and in 2004 Australia provided over $12 million.

Significant improvements in the capacity of Indonesian electoral agencies have reduced their reliance on international support to run elections. The Government of Indonesia recognises that broader improvements are still required, and have requested international assistance for the 2009 elections.

The Presidential election in Indonesia one of the largest single-day national elections in the world, spread over approximately 17,000 islands, 585,000 polling stations and involving more than 150 million voters, presenting unique logistical challenges.

Australian funding will be provided through Australian Electoral Commission and support the work of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which is coordinating donor assistance for the elections.

The Commission will work with its counterpart agency the Indonesian General Elections Commission to train election officials, through an analysis of training needs and the development of training manuals.

Australian funding through the UNDP will assist the development of electoral procedures and administration, train election workers, and establish an elections results centre. It is also assisting the Commission with public relations to promote accurate reporting and transparency.

Funding for international partners such as the International Foundation for Electoral Systems and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs will also help to improve voter registration and inform voters about electoral procedures.

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Since 2005, Australia has also provided approximately $7 million to support civil society observation, voter education and voter registration audits for provincial elections. There have been approximately 400 elections of provincial and district Heads of Government since 2004.

Australia will provide an estimated $462 million in development assistance to Indonesia in 2008-09.

This announcement coincides with the visit of Indonesian Ministers to Australia for the Australia-Indonesia Ministerial Forum, underway in Canberra today.

Media inquiries: Mr Smith's office 02 6277 7500 - Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555

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