Wed, 23 Aug 2000

An emasculate cabinet?

From the beginning, after President Abdurrahman Wahid's apology in the recently concluded Annual Session of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), it had been emphasized that the new Cabinet which the two were to form should be free from political considerations. The President should be given the full authority to appoint the ministers he saw appropriate to lead their respective ministries.

Thus far the political reasoning has been that Gus Dur was compelled to form a coalition Cabinet because not a single party had won an absolute majority in the past general elections.

Why not turn the argument on its head? Since not a single party had won an absolute majority vote, none of them -- including the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) -- have the right to claim a seat in the upcoming Cabinet. The President would thus have the full right to compose his Cabinet.

This kind of reasoning, however, is only possible with party leaders who have of a sense of statesmanship and decency. Unfortunately, such leaders don't exist. Gus Dur (President Abdurrahman Wahid) and (Vice President) Megawati, who should have been able to set up a lean and agile Cabinet, will thus be forced to form an emasculate one.

-- Media Indonesia, Jakarta