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Wahid renews state of emergency threat JAKARTA - Indonesia's beleaguered President, Abdurrahman Wahid, says he will call a state of emergency if his political rivals go ahead with impeachment proceedings. The President's office has previously denied Wahid would resort to this tactic, although they admit he has canvassed the conditions which would allow him to do so.
Wahid has also earlier threatened to call a snap election if impeachment begins and has challenged his armed forces to turn their guns on the presidential palace in Jakarta, Indonesia's capital. Indonesia's top legislative assembly is due to hold a special session from August 1 to discuss possible impeachment and force Wahid to account for his turbulent 20-month rule.
But Wahid has told legislators the demand for accountability is unconstitutional and he will refuse to appear unless they stop badgering him. "I would just declare an emergency," Wahid told Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio Wednesday when asked what he would do if the demand was not dropped. Wahid, speaking from Sydney during his first official visit to Australia, said he saw no danger in bringing in the military as it no longer had political designs and was in disarray.
But the next regional leader Wahid is to meet on this trip, New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Clark, has written off the frail cleric's chances of remaining in power. Wahid is due to meet Clark Wednesday in the southern city of Christchurch. But Clark told New Zealand radio Wednesday morning she did not think Wahid would survive as president beyond October this year.
It was "entirely possible" Indonesia would have a new president by the time of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum in Shanghai, China, in October, Clark said. Clark said she would be concentrating on officials accompanying the Indonesian leader, saying they would survive any change of government if Wahid is removed.
"His political future looks difficult right now ... the balance of probability now is that he won't survive. The president probably won't be the president in a little time," Clark said. She said civil servants traveling with Wahid would "endure, irrespective of government." This means issues raised in talks between the two leaders would be taken back to Indonesia's capital Jakarta, Clark said.
It is clearly not a view shared by Wahid. Wahid told Australian listeners he was confident the military would follow his orders if he declared a state of emergency, which would allow the arrest of opponents. Wahid said if a state of emergency was declared it would mean all parliamentary processes would be frozen and a snap election would be called based on the proportional system.
On the first visit in 26 years to Australia by an Indonesian president, Wahid referred to his troubles as a rerun of previous confrontations between parliaments pressing for parliamentary democracy and presidents keen to maintain presidential democracy.



Posted in Politics @ 27 June 2001 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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