Fri, 14 Oct 1994

PPP begins organization consolidation

JAKARTA (JP): The United Development Party, still reeling from a heated congress that threatened to divide the party, has gotten down to the business of consolidating the organization.

Chairman Ismail Hasan Metareum, who was re-elected to the helm at the congress last month, reported to President Soeharto yesterday the moves taken by the party leadership after the congress.

"We've begun consolidating our organization and we hope to strengthen this process all the way through until the regional congress," Ismail Hasan told reporters after he and eight other members of the new central executive board met with the President at the Merdeka Palace.

He said the elected board has already formed various departments and appointed the executives to run the party's day to day affairs.

Ismail Hasan was re-appointed to the post at the congress after foiling an attempt by politicians from the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) faction to unseat him. Many of the disgruntled NU politicians have since vowed to take their support somewhere else, some saying they would cross over to the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI), while others said they plan to push for the establishment of their own new party.

In the latest development, a number of NU ulemas this week called for an emergency congress of the party.

The suggestion was flatly turned down yesterday by Ismail Hasan who pointed out that last month's congress was valid and complied with all procedures.

PPP is a fusion of four Moslem parties, established in 1973, but its leadership has been contested by NU, the largest of the four, and Muslimin Indonesia (MI), which has the support of the government. Ismail Hasan hails from MI. As a compromise, the party's secretary general post has always gone to NU figures. The current secretary general Tosari Widjaya belongs to NU.

Tosari yesterday also spelled out the requirements for an emergency congress, which now must be at the request of at least half of all the party's regional boards.

Ismail Hasan yesterday also reported to President Soeharto on a new forum his party is launching to bring party leaders into closer and more frequent contact with scholars.

The President's response to this, according to Ismail Hasan, was that the party should take advantage of the expertise of these scholars.

Soeharto also fully backed the PPP leadership's move to consolidate the organization, pointing out that the leaders must always have the support of party rank and files, Ismail Hasan said.

The party is also expected to join in the current government endeavor to eradicate poverty, both material and spiritual, in the nation, Ismail Hasan said.

"This is a coincidence because PPP has from the beginning always put the stress more on spiritual rather than material development," he said. (emb)