The province (provinsi or propinsi) is the highest tier of local government subnational entity in Indonesia. Each province has its own local government (Pemerintah Daerah Provinsi), headed by the governor (gubernur); and has its own legislative body (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Daerah). The Governor and member of representatives are elected by popular vote for 5 years term.
This page is a short summary containing more general information about the province of West Irian Jaya. Extensive information on West Irian Jaya can be found in the directory 'Papua' on this website.
Location map of West Irian Jaya.
Papua Barat (Indonesian for "West Papua"; formerly Irian Jaya Barat, for "West Irian Jaya") is a province of Indonesia on the western end of the island of New Guinea. It covers the Bird's Head Peninsula (Jazirah Doberai) and surrounding islands.
The province has a population of approximately 800,000, making it one of the least populous of all Indonesian provinces. The capital of West Irian Jaya is in Manokwari. The province is administratively divided into seven regencies (kabupaten) and one city (kota):
Raja Ampat (capital Waisai)
Sorong Selatan (capital Teminabuan)
Teluk Bintuni (capital Bintuni)
Teluk Wondama (capital Rasiei)
West Irian Jaya was created from the western portion of Papua province in February 2003. The split remains controversial. Supporters, including those in the central government in Jakarta and immigrants to Papua from elsewhere in Indonesia, argue that the creation of the new province will help ensure the efficient management of resources and fair distribution of services. The split is widely opposed in Papua itself, where it is viewed as a violation of special autonomy laws governing Papua, and as an effort to quell the Papuan separatist movement.
In November 2004, an Indonesian court agreed that the split violated Papua's autonomy laws. However, the court ruled that because the new province had already been created, it should remain separate from Papua. The ruling also prohibited the creation of another proposed province, Central Irian Jaya, because the split was not yet completed.
The province changed its name to West Papua in February 2007. The new name applies from 7 February 2007, but a plenary session of the provincial legislative council is required to legalise the name, and the government needs to then issue a regulation.