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Megawati urged to quit post, open way for general election JAKARTA - Given the continued struggle between the President and the House of Representatives, Vice President Megawati Soekarnoputri should leave the government to open the way for a general election, noted economist Sjahrir said on Thursday. "The political elite, both in the executive and legislative branches, are no longer concerned with the suffering of the people, and the President faces possible impeachment for his alleged involvement in two financial scandals," Sjahrir said after the declaration of the Alliance of New Indonesia (PIB) here.
"Megawati, therefore, should quit embattled President Abdurrahman Wahid's administration and the legislature should be dissolved because they no longer represent the people. "Then an expedited general election based on the district system, along with a direct presidential election, must be held to select a new and legitimate legislature and president," Sjahrir said. The 34 people, mostly intellectuals, who established PIB described it as an alliance for justice and democracy. The alliance received the support of more than 1,000 young executives who attended the declaration ceremony at Hotel Indonesia.
Others involved in establishing PIB include Abdullah Dahana, Christianto Wibisono, Ismed Hasan Putro, James Danandjaja, Pande Radja Silalahi, Muhammad Chatib Basri, Revrisond Baswir, Taufik Darusman and Rocky Gerung. Sjahrir turned up the rhetorical heat on the ailing government, saying the President should voluntarily step down because he had proven himself unable to lead the nation and defuse the continuing crisis. He said the political instability was the result of politicians bypassing political mechanisms, often in breach of the law, to fight for their own interests.
"We are witnessing the long days of so-called reform putting in doubt our imagined democracy, which looks disoriented and headed toward a deadlock .... "The nation has been politically and economically damaged. Even worse, we are now seen as a nation with a dark history of racial problems, ethnic killings and religious conflicts. Our country, Indonesia, now embodies the whole history of barbarism around the world," he said. He said Indonesia was on the verge of collapse because "members of the nation are competing to kill one another in the name of religious holiness, ethnic superiority and even intellectualism".
Similar concerns were voiced by the deputy chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama's law-making body, Said Aqil Siradj. He said the unity of the nation was in danger because there were no leaders able to bring together people of different religions, tribes and ethnic groups. "We are in the process of cultural degradation since many politicians are using our religious, tribal and racial differences, which should enrich the nation, for their own political interests," he said during a discussion to commemorate the 80th anniversary of national hero TB Simatupang.
Syafi'i Maarif, the chairman of the country's second largest Muslim organization, Muhammadiyah, said political leaders were morally obliged to work to bring the country together. "Politicians must learn from past leaders such as Sukarno, Hatta and Kasimo, who were politically mature. "There was intense competition between political parties during the first general election in 1950, but no one died," Syafi'i said. "Look what is happening today. There is bloodshed because of the political bickering, but nobody cares," he added.
Syafi'i said he told President Abdurrahman he had inherited all of the country's problems and it was impossible for him to fix them in one night. "Instead of making improvements, Gus Dur has made the situation worse with his confusing state policies," Syafi'i said, referring to the President by his nickname.
Meanwhile, Student Executive Bodies (BEMs) renewed their call for the President to resign to save the country from collapse. "We will continue telling the people that Abdurrahman must resign for the nation to escape this crisis. We do not want to name his successor, only ask for improvements (from the successor)," Taufik Riyadi, the chairman of the University of Indonesia BEM, said.



Posted in Politics @ 22 March 2001 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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