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Nation is in worst condition since 1945, says Megawati SURAKARTA - Deploring the growing climate of violence in the country, Vice President Megawati Soekarnoputri on Friday said that the country currently found itself in its worst state since independence in 1945. "We are now going through the worst times we have experienced in the last 56 years," Megawati said while addressing a ceremony marking the start of National Press Day and the 55th anniversary of the Indonesian Journalists Association (PWI) at the Surakarta Press Monument.
"Especially since the 1997 (financial) crisis, the problems have spread to other domains such as politics, the social arena and security field, which is an alarming development," said Megawati, who is also chairperson of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan). The daughter of the country's founding president Sukarno said she "strongly" opposed all kinds of violence. "Violence should not take place in a modern, democratic country," she said. Her statement came amid increasing violence perpetrated by supporters of embattled President Abdurrahman Wahid in East Java in response to attempts to force him to resign and hand over power to Megawati.
His supporters have been ransacking and torching Golkar offices in East Java's towns and cities over the last number of days. The violence, in which at least seven people have been injured, came on the heels of the move by the House of Representatives (DPR) to censure Abdurrahman last week after accepting a report implicating the President in two financial scandals. Abdurrahman's supporters have warned of a bloodbath and civil war if House legislators try to topple him through an impeachment process during a special session of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR).
Megawati also condemned the continuing anarchic actions in East Java. "This (anarchy) doesn't show maturity on the part of their leaders," she asserted. Megawati said she was against any form of violence in politics and regretted protests that ended in violence. "I've made every effort to control my supporters and keep them from participating in such unacceptable acts," she said. Megawati told the audience that before she had approached the podium, House Speaker Akbar Tandjung had said to her, "How could all these (attacks) happen?"
"I replied, 'That's why... People should just get angry at the top level but shouldn't let it spread to the grass roots." After the ceremony, Akbar, who spoke from the stage, defended his party against the demands that Golkar be dissolved, saying that Golkar was a constitutional political party. "Golkar is also a major party which won 120 seats in the House at the 1999 general election. So, there is no excuse for dissolving our party," he said. "Let the people decide at the next general election."
Akbar said that a political party could be disbanded only by the Supreme Court if it had violated the constitution. Regarding the continuing attacks on Golkar offices, he said that he ordered all party branches across the country to beef up their security so as to protect themselves from any attacks. He renewed his accusation that the Democratic People's Party (PRD) could be the group behind the attacks. "We get the impression that it is the PRD that is involved in the attacks," he said.
Akbar also criticized President Abdurrahman Wahid for his lack of firmness in preventing his supporters from engaging in anarchic acts. "I have the impression that the President has not seriously responded to my complaint about the attacks on Golkar offices. The President told me with regard to the Situbondo case, 'It's better for them (Gus Dur supporters) to be cutting trees than to be chopping people'," Akbar said. "Such a statement should not be made by a president. It is as if he agrees with his supporters' actions. The President should act in line with the Constitution," he said.
When asked about the chances for reconciliation, Akbar simply said "it can be done, but the administrative procedures involved in the various cases (such as the Bulog and Brunei financial scandals and the memorandum of censure) must be complied with." Akbar admitted that the members of the political elite rarely met with each other and that there was, consequently, a lack of communication among them.



Posted in General @ 10 February 2001 00:03 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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