Sat, 11 Sep 1999

PAN renounces council speaker from military

JAKARTA (JP): City council members from the National Mandate Party (PAN) faction demanded on Friday that the military, as a faction which did not contest the general election, be judged ineligible to lead the legislative body.

The call was made in a political statement read by the faction's chairwoman, Siti Wasilah Sutrisno, on the council.

"The leader of the legislative body must be elected from political parties taking part in the general election," Wasilah said.

She said the demand was in line with PAN's reform agenda.

The faction's secretary, M. Syamsuardi Botan, added that the call was also in line with honest principles and the polls' fairness.

"It's not fair if the council is led by people from the military faction, which did not join the recent elections," Syamsuardi said.

PAN, which have 13 seats on the council, nominated councilor M. Suwardi, who is also chairman of PAN's Jakarta chapter, for the council speaker's seat.

When asked to comment on his nomination, Suwardi said it would be fair for the capital to have a civilian council speaker as the executive body was already led by a retired military officer.

He was referring to Governor Sutiyoso, a retired three-star Army general.

According to internal council rules, the council will be collectively led by four people from the top four parties that won the largest share of the vote at the June 7 polls.

One of the four will be elected as the council's speaker by all 85 city councilors in a plenary session slated for Monday.

The four biggest factions are the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) with 30 seats, PAN with 13 seats, the United Development Party (PPP) with 13 seats and the Indonesian Military (TNI) with nine seats.

The four factions have already proposed their respective councilors as the council's collective leaders. They are Suwardi from PAN, Djafar Badjeber from PPP, Tarmidi Suhardjo from PDI Perjuangan and Maj. Gen. Edy Waluyo from the military faction.

PAN's call on Friday was an apparent response to the renomination of Edy, who led the previous council.

Edy has reportedly "approached" many councilors from the other factions in an attempt to gain support for his bid.

Some councilors said Edy would be redeployed at TNI Headquarters if he failed in his reelection bid.

PDI Perjuangan, the party that won the largest share of the vote in the recent general election, is believed to have given its support for Edy's renomination.

The party has been concentrating on obtaining three city representatives for seats on the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) to help strengthen the party's nomination for its chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri for the presidency.

PAN also demanded on Friday that the governor of Jakarta be elected from political parties participating in the polls. (jun)