Sat, 27 Jul 1996

PPP protests over threat

SURABAYA: The local chapter of the United Development Party (PPP) has lodged a complaint with the government, protesting the village chiefs' intimidation of its party activists in Madura last week.

Party chapter chief Syumli Syadli said that the protest was filed with the local and national office of the general election committee as well as governor Basofi Sudirman.

The incident happened when Torjunan village chief Mansyur forcibly dispersed and threatened PPP leaders gathered in Sampang, Madura, with a machete.

Under the Indonesian political system, all government officials are supporters of the Golkar party, which, along with the PPP and the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI), will contest the general elections next year.

Mansyur also forced the PPP leaders to sign a statement which asked them to promise to retract a report that the local election officials had failed to register 500 PPP supporters.

Syumli criticized the police, who were present when the incident was taking place, for not intervening and stopping the village chief.

"Their inaction could create a bad impression about the police force as a whole," he said.

He charged that the village chief meant to sabotage the 1997 general election. "He was trampling the rules," he said.

Sampang is a PPP stronghold in East Java. The incident prompted Sampang regent Col. Fadhilah Budiono on Tuesday to summon influential Moslem preachers to help calm the town. (15/pan)