Tue, 02 Aug 1994

Ismail Hasan says `yes', finally

JAKARTA (JP): Breaking his long silence, chairman of the Moslem-oriented United Development Party (PPP) Ismail Hasan Metareum announced yesterday he would seek re-election.

"With God's blessing, I'm ready to continue leading PPP," Ismail Hasan told journalists after meeting with Minister of Religious Affairs Tarmizi Taher.

Ismail Hasan, who was elected PPP boss in a congress with little government intervention five years ago, had been known to covet the second term but had refrained from publicly saying so, until yesterday.

PPP will elect its new board of executives during its forthcoming national congress in Jakarta from Aug. 28 through Sept. 1.

Described by his critics as a conservative politician, Ismail Hasan has secured strong support from a number of PPP leaders in the provinces.

His nearest contender is Matori Abdul Djalil, his own secretary general, who has the support of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the largest of the four factions in the PPP.

PPP is an amalgam of four Moslem organizations: NU, Muslimin Indonesia (MI), Perti and Sarekat Islam. Ismail Hasan comes from MI, which has dominated the leadership since the party was formed 21 years ago.

Meanwhile, the Antara reported yesterday that NU leaders in East Kalimantan have thrown their support for Matori.

"We will soon made a written statement to reaffirm our support for him," said Khairul Fud, chairman of the Samarinda branch of PPP.

Matori, now PPP's secretary general, was touring PPP offices in East Kalimantan last week. He insisted he did not garner local support for his election bid but rather to seek ideas on how to develop the party. (pan)