Mon, 03 Oct 1994

PPP recruits scholars as political advisers

JAKARTA (JP): The Moslem-oriented United Development Party (PPP), which last week completed the line-up of its executive board, means to embrace academics as its advisers.

The conflict-ridden party dropped its plan to form a research and development section and will instead hold regular meetings with its scholars to seek advice on how to implement its programs.

"The scholars are grouped in a loose forum," PPP chairman Ismail Hasan Metareum told journalists when announcing the new top leadership.

Ismail Hasan declined to explain why his leadership did not form the Council of Scholars as originally planned. "What we need is regular meetings between us and the scholars," he said.

Last month's party congress elected the key personnel of the central board of executives. Lower ranking officials in charge of technical matters like general elections, training, and education were elected only last week.

Ismail Hasan said 35 scholars have confirmed their intention to attend the first meeting to be held here on Oct. 7.

PPP's plan to form the council of scholars came to the forefront in the run-up of the congress partly because the public was eager to see if outspoken and controversial figures like Sri Bintang Pamungkas would be included.

The scholars are hoped to help improve PPP's performance in the 1997 general election. PPP considers the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) a serious threat to its position as second fiddle to the ruling Golkar.

Over the weekend, the outgoing party officials symbolically transferred the party's treasure to the new leadership in a ceremony at its headquarters.

The new personnel of the lower departments were mostly scholars and professionals from the various organizational factions making up the party. (pan)