Tue, 16 Aug 1994

Yogie denies endorsing rival PDI regional head

JAKARTA (JP): Minister of Home Affairs Moch. Yogie S.M. denied yesterday's press reports which suggested that the government has endorsed a rebel party member to lead the East Java chapter of the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI).

Yogie said the government put it to the PDI's central board of executives to resolve the conflict surrounding the election of the new party chapter.

"Reports that the chief of the East Java government's socio- political affairs department has given his endorsement to Latief Pudjosakti is untrue," Yogie told reporters.

A critic of PDI chairperson Megawati Soekarnoputri, Latief is the current chapter chairman who has met strong rejection from both her the regency's party leaders.

Latief rocked the boat last week by proclaiming himself chapter chairman although he lost to his arch rival, Sucipto, during last month's election which was then annulled because the total number of ballots cast was four more than the number of eligible voters.

Megawati refused to honor his move and selected Sucipto, known as one of her ardent supporters, on Saturday as the legitimate new PDI chapter chairman.

Latief, however, is not deterred by her direct intervention.

Soerjadi Setiawan, chief of the East Java government's socio- political affairs department, met with Latief and members of his rival board of leaders in Surabaya on Saturday. The meeting was widely seen as a government show of support for Latief.

The Surabaya-based Surya newspaper on Sunday carried a large front page photograph of Latief shaking hands with Soerjadi. The paper said Soerjadi was congratulating Latief on his "re- election."

"They're all PDI's internal problems that the party has to solve without the government's interference," Yogie said as quoted by Antara.

In a related development, PDI's central board of executives in Jakarta yesterday chose the new leadership personnel that will reinforce Sucipto's leadership.

PDI secretary general Alexander Litaay said the new line-up of the East Java party leaders will be announced in a few days.

A reliable source told The Jakarta Post that relevant government and military officials will be consulted before any public announcement is made.

Litaay said the party waited for "the right time" to announce the composition of the new leadership for the East Java chapter. (pan)