Wed, 18 Oct 2000

Deputy Army chief to be named next week

JAKARTA (JP): Speculation about the man who will second the new Army chief of staff Gen. Endriartono Sutarto will continue at least until next week.

Speaking at the first joint conference with his predecessor Gen. Tyasno Sudarto on Tuesday, Endriartono said he would hold his old position as the Army deputy chief pending the completion of deliberations on the issue by the Council for High Ranking Promotions and Duty Rotation (Wanjakti).

Endriartono replaced Tyasno on Oct. 10.

It is the first time in Army history that a chief of staff has had to wait for so long for the service of a deputy.

"The vacancy occurs because for the first time ever a deputy chief of staff was promoted to the Army's top post," Endriartono said, ignoring the fact that Gen. Subagyo Hadisiswoyo was named the Army chief of staff in place of Gen. Wiranto in 1998 when he was still the deputy Army chief of staff.

Endriartono insisted that the deputy chief post would be crucial because of its function in the coordination of all the Army's staff members.

Chief of Army Strategic Reserves Command (Kostrad) Lt. Gen Ryamizard Ryacudu has been widely tipped as the strongest contender, thanks in part to approval from President Abdurrahman Wahid.

Ryamizard was nominated after the President's nomination of former Kostrad chief Lt. Gen. Agus Wirahadikusumah was opposed by a group of Army senior officers.

Ryamizard, a son-in-law of former vice president Try Sutrisno, is a 1973 graduate of the Military Academy. He took over from Agus just three months ago.

Another candidate is Lt. Gen. Amir Sembiring, the chief of Bandung's Military Education & Training Command. He graduated from the Military Academy in 1970.

Udayana Military Commander Maj. Gen. Kiki Syahnakrie could be the dark horse in the race for the Army's second top post. Kiki, who, like Endriartono, is a 1971 graduate, has reportedly been recommended by Vice President Megawati Soekarnoputri. (02).