Mon, 14 Feb 2000

PDI-P urged to reject military's dual role

SALATIGA, Central Java (JP): The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) is being urged to drop its support for the military's sociopolitical role during its congress in Semarang next month.

Party deputy chairman Mochtar Buchori said in a seminar here that the commitment to maintain the military's dual role was no longer relevant in the current era when democracy was flourishing.

Mochtar said the demand for change should not be viewed as opposition to the existence of the Indonesian Military (TNI).

"As a new democratic country, Indonesia should reduce the role of its military (in politics). We no longer want to be under a military or militaristic government," Mochtar, who is also a noted educationist, said at the seminar, titled Critically Support the Government of President Abdurrahman Wahid and Vice President Megawati Soekarnoputri.

Mochtar suggested that a review of TNI's dual function be seriously discussed during the party's congress in the province's capital Semarang.

Many analysts believe that PDI Perjuangan will maintain its support for TNI's political role, despite the fact that it often suffered in the past from elements in the armed forces.

They base their assumptions on the fact that the party faction that dominated the Jakarta legislature backed a TNI candidate for the council's speaker post.

PDI Perjuangan chairwoman Megawati reportedly disapproves of President Abdurrahman Wahid's request that Coordinating Minister for Political Affairs and Security Gen. Wiranto resign because of his alleged role in the East Timor violence. Abdurrahman denied the reports on Sunday.

Other PDI Perjuangan members have also refused to comment on whether to support the President.

Separately, another party deputy chairman, Dimyati Hartono, said he had identified names of civilians and military personnel allegedly responsible for the bloody takeover of the PDI headquarters on July 27, 1996.

"Their names are already in my pocket. But I won't disclose them now," Dimyati said in Semarang.

"We know there were meetings to discuss the takeover in military institutions," he added. (har/jun)