Thu, 23 Nov 2000

PDI-P congress in stalemate

PURWOKERTO, Central Java: A branch congress of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) ended in stalemate here on Tuesday after dozens of civilian guards disrupted the meeting to protest against the possible election of a rank outsider as chairman.

Tension had surfaced after little known Bejo Subaryadi headed the count by 37 votes after a rerun of the vote for the chairmanship. Bejo failed to secure the top post, but the outcome was enough to raise many eyebrows because he finished empty handed in the initial vote, which had to be repeated after none of the eight candidates reached the necessary quota of two-thirds of the votes cast.

"It (the result) is questionable. Money politics must have marred this election," one of the guards shouted.

The rerun only finished in the wee hours on Tuesday.

Fearing an incident following his surprising performance, Bejo rose to the podium to announce that he was withdrawing from the race.

"For the sake of our unity, I'm not running for the chief post," Bejo said, amid jeers from his supporters who insisted that he go ahead.

Tasroni Budi Prayitno, an executive of the party's provincial chapter who supervised the election, decided to close the congress and said he would let the party's central board settle the matter. (45)