Tue, 06 Mar 2001

President's character

Pak Soegih Arto in his letter (The Jakarta Post, March 2, 2001) dreamed of Gus Dur's sweet victory when people were urging him to immediately return from his overseas trip and pilgrimage. CNN quoted the calls as "Gus Dur, come back. Or don't bother to return at all".

Well, it could be perceived that way, but I believed the calls were merely to see how much sense of crises Gus Dur has with regard to the Sampit tragedy. Different heads of state have different characters and attitudes. I recalled those who gave priority to domestic issues and returned home immediately when something serious occurs when they were overseas, no matter how important their trips were.

I know for sure the President would return home safely on March 7 as scheduled, and he would be happy to see the success of Ibu Megawati and her team's visit to Sampit.

Then we will see him making more overseas trips, and leave the day-to-day administration to the Vice President. Perhaps, it is a test case that he is undertaking to prove his capability and whether Ibu Megawati is ready to take over the presidency. And when the time is right (before 2004), he will gracefully relinquish the presidential seat to Ibu Megawati.