23 Sep 2003

Golkar Party opposes split of Indonesia's Papua province

4:11 pm on 23 September 2003

The chairman of Indonesia's Golkar Party has spoken out against the Indonesian government's plan to split the province of Papua into three.

Akbar Tanjung says the policy to divide Papua violates a 2001 law granting special autonomy to the province.

Tanjung was speaking in the Papuan capital, Jayapura, in front of hundreds of party supporters.

He said any split could only go ahead with the approval of the House of Representatives and the Papuan People's Assembly, which is yet to be formed.

Indonesia's President, Megawati Sukarnoputri, agreed in January to divide Papua amid concerns it might try to secede from the republic.

Akbar Tanjung is expected to be a key challenger when she seeks re-election.