The United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) estimates that 60% of voters have boycotted the 2019 Indonesian elections in West Papua. While voting did not take place in many polling stations on Wednesday 17 April as the ballots had not been delivered, it is the boycott by voters that has reduced participation to record lows.

Benny Wenda, Chair of the ULMWP said

“This is the first time in our history that 60% have boycotted the Indonesian elections in West Papua. It’s a great achievement, and the second time that the West Papuan people have not joined the Indonesian presidential elections.”

“The boycott is growing – more people boycotted this year’s elections than the previous 2014 Indonesian elections. There is growing confidence in West Papua that we will be an independent state.”

“People around the world should hear the voice of the West Papuans in our call for self-determination. The West Papuan people have already voted – 1.8 million signed a petition to the United Nations for an international supervised vote for self-determination”

The call to boycott the Indonesian elections was made on March 26, 2019. In a statement, the ULMWP also called for people to rally on April 5 for a referendum. The date of the Rally for Referendum call – April 5 – marked the anniversary of the establishment of the Nieuw Guinea Raad (the West Papua National Parliament). On April 5, 1961, the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the international community formally recognised West Papua’s right to self-determination and eventual statehood.