Viewing cable 06JAKARTA3161
Title: NORTH SUMATRA GOVERNOR NAMED DESPITE ALLEGATIONS

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06JAKARTA31612006-03-10 00:20:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Jakarta
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 JAKARTA 003161 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
AIDAC 
 
DEPARTMENT PASS USTR KATZ 
DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/IET, INR/EAP and INL 
DEPARTMENT PLEASE PASS AID 
USAID FOR ANE/EAA, J. Kunder and R. Cavitt 
Treasury for IA -- Anna Jewell 
NSC for Holly Morrow 
 
Embassy Jakarta Medan Affairs Office # 10, 2005 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM ID
SUBJECT:  NORTH SUMATRA GOVERNOR NAMED DESPITE ALLEGATIONS 
HE FORGED EDUCATIONAL CREDENTIALS 
 
 
REFTELS:  (A) 05 JAKARTA 013656 
          (B) 05 Jakarta 008751 
          (C) 04 Jakarta 012815 
          (D) 05 Jakarta 008760 
          (E) 05 Jakarta 005561 
          (F) 04 Jakarta 005895 
 
Summary 
------- 
¶1. (SBU) North Sumatra Deputy Governor Rudolf Pardede will 
become Acting Governor of North Sumatra on March 10, months 
after former Governor Rizul Nurdin's unfortunate death.  The 
announcement of his appointment came after several weeks of 
increased activity in the investigation of Pardede's alleged 
spurious educational qualifications.  The Chief of Police 
pledged to complete his investigation soon, though not 
necessarily before Pardede becomes governor.  Pardede 
becomes Acting Governor in a weakened political position, 
with his own party split and pressure on him from opposition 
parties.  Pardede seems well disposed to the U.S., and we 
expect to work closely with him.  End Summary. 
 
New Governor Named, Finally 
--------------------------- 
 
¶2. (U) According to a March 2 announcement by Indonesian 
Home Minister Mohammad Ma'ruf, North Sumatra Deputy Governor 
Rudolf Pardede (Indonesia Democratic Party -- Struggle (PDI- 
P)) will become Acting Governor of North Sumatra on March 
10, thus ending months of speculation and jockeying among 
the North Sumatra political class. Ma'ruf's announcement 
came two weeks after President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono 
reportedly issued a Presidential Order naming Pardede to the 
position.  Although media accounts reported on a 
Presidential Order issued in mid-February, no North Sumatra 
Provincial Assembly (DPRD) members saw the Order required to 
appoint an Acting Governor. 
 
¶3. (U) After the Air Mandala crash on September 5, 2005 that 
killed, among others, North Sumatra Governor Teungku Rizul 
Nurdin (refs B and C), North Sumatra waited months for an 
Acting Governor.  Before the February Presidential Order, 
speculation on possible candidates included former GOLKAR 
gubernatorial candidates Chairuman Harahap and Amrun Daulay 
and former GOLKAR Deputy Governor Abdul Wahab Dalimunthe 
(ref A). 
 
¶4. (SBU) Darwin Nasution, head of the small but well- 
connected Pancasila Patriot Party, said several likely 
candidates for Governor in 2008 such as Medan Mayor Abdillah 
(ref B), North Sumatra Golkar Chairman Ali Umri (ref C) and 
Regent of Langkat Syamsul Arifin (reftel) did not seem 
sufficiently prepared for the Governorship this year. 
Abdillah exhausted available financial support in his 2005 
reelection campaign; Umri has gotten caught up in intraparty 
disputes as well as a scandal from his period as Mayor of 
the nearby city of Binjai; and Arifin remains some distance 
from lining up a cadre of solid supporters.  (Note: These 
candidates are all nationalist Muslims like Nasution 
himself, but one could have said the same about another 
likely candidate, Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) provincial 
 
JAKARTA 00003161  002 OF 003 
 
 
assembly member Sigit Pramono (ref D), a Muslim whose 
politics bear a more religious stamp.  Pramono, Vice Mayor 
candidate on the ticket which opposed Abdillah's reelection 
bid, is still getting over his party's weak showing in that 
race.  End note.) 
 
Why So Long? 
------------ 
 
¶5. (U) The announcement of the Presidential Order came after 
several weeks of increased activity in the investigation of 
Pardede's alleged spurious educational qualifications (Ref 
A).  Opponents early on accused the Pardede of falsifying 
his academic record to qualify as a candidate for Deputy 
Governor.  Dubbed "ijazah-gate" (from the Indonesian word 
for diploma, "ijazah"), the allegations remained unresolved 
during Rizal Nurdin's tenure.  Immediately after Rizal 
Nurdin's death, Muslim politicians in North Sumatra looked 
for a way to block Pardede's (a Christian) appointment as 
Acting Governor.  What normally should have proven a routine 
appointment became a prolonged political process.  Political 
groups in North Sumatra's Provincial Assembly (DPRD) raised 
anew questions of Pardede's fitness, and the pressure seemed 
to delay announcement from Jakarta on Rizal Nurdin's 
successor. 
 
¶6. (U) Without an Acting Governor, Pardede assumed most of 
the responsibilities of the Governor position without the 
title.  He instituted the new minimum wage in December, 
submitted a budget, and interacted with DPRD as the chief 
executive.  The investigation into his educational 
credentials quietly faded, and opposition to Pardede's 
appointment fizzled over time as no other candidate emerged 
around whom anti-Rudolf forces could coalesce. 
 
Investigation Intensifies Prior to Announcement 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
 
¶7. (U) News reports on the revitalization of the 
investigation broke over the February 4 - 5 weekend, and the 
North Sumatra press ran headlines announcing Rudolf's 
predicament.  In the days following, Rudolf went from an 
object of investigation to a suspect.  As former North 
Sumatra DPRD and PDI-P (Pardede's party) member Ronald 
Naibaho told us, "In Indonesia it is easy to move from 
witness to suspect to arrestee."  Each day brought new lurid 
headlines and stories detailing the police investigation of 
Pardede. 
 
¶8. (SBU) Chief Editor of the prominent North Sumatran daily 
Analisa, Soffyan told us Pardede's attempt to replace a 
Muslim Provincial Secretary with a Christian led to 
increased activity in the investigation, prompted by Islamic 
political parties in DPRD.  Vice Chair of the North Sumatra 
Investment and Promotion Board Nurlisa Ginting attributed 
the delay in investigating Pardede to the lack of a 
presidential order.  She explained that police could not act 
before such an order and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono 
issued an order to investigate only recently.  Sofyian also 
noted the need for a presidential decree in order to take a 
Deputy Governor before a court. 
 
 
JAKARTA 00003161  003 OF 003 
 
 
¶9. (SBU) Gatot Pujo Nugroho, Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), 
told us that in fact PKS had approached the North Sumatra 
Chief of Police (KAPOLDA) after allowing him enough time to 
settle in as new KAPOLDA.  (NOTE:  In December 2005, 
provincial chiefs of police underwent reassignment 
throughout Indonesia.  End Note.)  Nugroho insisted an 
investigation could be conducted 60 days after an initial 
request even in the absence of a presidential decree.  The 
KAPOLDA pledged to complete his investigation soon, though 
not necessarily before Pardede becomes governor. 
 
Neither a Lame Duck nor a Screaming Eagle 
----------------------------------------- 
 
¶10. (SBU) Pardede becomes Acting Governor in a weakened 
political position.  Pardede's own PDI-P has split into pro- 
and anti-Pardede factions.  PKS intends to keep up the 
pressure on Pardede, believing it dangerous for North 
Sumatra to have an uneducated Governor.  Pramono reported 
that PKS approached Home Minister Ma'ruf to complain about 
Pardede's appointment as Acting Governor and got rebuffed. 
 
¶11. (SBU) The Pancasila Patriot Party's Nasution, 
nonetheless, told us he and most of his fellow Muslim 
political leaders would accept and work with Pardede as 
Acting Governor.  He said they originally did not want 
Pardede to become Acting Governor because he and family 
members are outspoken Christians who participate in 
missionary activities (ref A).  Nasution said he and his 
fellow Muslim politicians expected Rudolf's unresolved 
Ijazah-gate scandal would keep him from rocking the boat and 
alienating the province's political establishment, or 
promoting the interests of his fellow Christian politicians 
as many believe he has done during his years as leader of 
North Sumatra's PDI-P (ref F).  He said the scandal could 
serve as a club to keep him from getting out of line. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
¶12. (SBU) Now that Pardede will become Acting Governor, the 
investigation of his academic credentials will likely remain 
a thorn in his side, but one he can live with.  Even if the 
KAPOLDA referred the case to the prosecutor, the wheels of 
justice could spin slowly enough to allow Pardede to finish 
his term.  The opposition parties in the DPRD can accept 
Pardede as Acting Governor because of his perceived 
weakness.  The possible candidates for Governor will use 
Ijazah-gate to remind voters that Pardede is a "pampered 
boy," who never had a rightful claim to his position. 
Pardede, for his part, has grown in the position.  Initial 
worries -- even by some in his own party -- that he had 
neither the qualifications nor the inclination to be 
Governor have quieted as Pardede has shown he can handle the 
job.  Pardede seems well disposed to the U.S., and we expect 
to work closely with him.  End Comment. 
 
Pascoe