Sat, 16 Sep 2000

PBB to strive to become big party

YOGYAKARTA (JP): Chairman of the Crescent Star Party (PBB) Yusril Ihza Mahendra, who is also minister of justice and human rights, said here on Friday that his party was determined to become one of the "big three" in the 2004 general elections.

"That's not impossible judging from recent developments , especially the country's political situation in the last two years," Yusril told some 500 PBB supporters attending a gathering at the PDHI building.

The gathering was held ahead of the party's two-day national working meeting which was opened on Friday evening. Around 200 PBB's activists attended the working meeting.

According to Yusril, PBB's ambition to be among the "big three" in the next general election was a feasible goal.

"Politics always change. Someone in power today, could be powerless tomorrow. Just look at Gus Dur. Who imagined that he would become a president?" he said.

He added that people were already questioning if the current dominant parties are really working for the people. "This indicates that these parties may become "small" in the future."

"If PBB makes a serious attempt to achieve this target, I'm sure we will be successful," he said, citing internal party consolidation and the party's independence as examples of efforts to reach the target.

Other important issues to be discussed in the meeting are the party's financial matters and recruitment of new cadre. "Cadre recruitment and development is a must for regeneration."

Yusril also reminded PBB activists and supporters to remain critical of the government, despite being part of the government himself.

"I am myself critical of Gus Dur. Why shouldn't you," he said.

In his speech, Yusril also expressed his determination to keep fighting for the adoption of certain Islamic laws in the Jakarta Charter of the 1945 Constitution as he saw it as a mandate of the party's congress.

"That's a mandate from the party's congress. It's just a matter of time (before we win)," he said.

He said he had finished preparing the draft for the new Criminal Law Code which consists of 648 articles. "I'm ready to ask for the House of Representative's approval in March 2001."(swa)