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Gus Dur told to avoid state of emergency JAKARTA - Ministers and security authorities expressed hopes on Wednesday that embattled President Abdurrahman "Gus Dur" Wahid would not declare a state of emergency, as a last resort, to survive his political life. Coordinating Minister for Political, Social and Security Affairs Agum Gumelar said he was working hard to avoid national disintegration and any declaration of a state of emergency.
"I'm working hard to prevent unwanted things, such as national disintegration and the issuance of a decree, from happening on the eve of the special session," he said, after the opening ceremony of a short course for regents and councillors at the National Resilience Institute (Lemhannas) here on Wednesday. Upon his arrival at Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara for a visit of East Timorese refugees later in the day, Agum renewed his apparent concern over the President's threat.
The President said in Christchurch, New Zealand, earlier in the day that he would declare a state of emergency if his political foes kept demanding that he account for his turbulent rule in a special session of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) in August. Abdurrahman claimed defiantly that the Indonesian Military (TNI) and public support him and that he will defeat any attempt to impeach and remove him.
Speaking after talks with New Zealand's prime minister, Helen Clark, the President tried to brush off suggestions that the military would not back him if he tried to declare a state of emergency and rule by decree. "I know Indonesia. I know what they want. The public as well as the armed forces are behind me," he told a joint media conference. Asked if he would survive an impeachment attempt, Wahid smiled and said: "One hundred percent."
Clark said before Wahid's arrival that she doubted he would survive impeachment. Clark said she would focus on officials traveling with Wahid, saying they would stay in office after the President was gone. "His political future looks difficult right now ... the balance of probability now is that he won't survive" the impeachment, Clark told National Radio. "The President probably won't be the president in a little time," Clark added.
The President has made two warnings over the last two months. Last week, the President also threatened to call for an early election if the Assembly forced him to present an accountability speech in the special session. Agum cited that his main task was to avoid any situation that could lead to national disunity. He said that in his capacity as a minister, he would continue to give advice that the President needs in formulating good policies and making the right decisions to cope with the current problems.
He said, however, that he could not prevent the President from taking an unpopular decision in regard to the Assembly special session. Separately, Minister of Defense Mahfud M.D. denied that the President had planned to declare a state of emergency if he was forced to account for his leadership. "What the President said this morning is not a plan or a threat but his personal view. I'm hopeful the President will not take such action because it will certainly kill democracy in the country," he said, after attending the House's meeting to deliberate the bill on state defense on Wednesday.
Mahfud said the President should gain approval from all 11 officials in charge of security, political and administration affairs before declaring the state of emergency. "There are 11 officials whom the President should consult with, among others, the coordinating minister for political, social and security affairs, the minister of defense, the minister of home affairs and regional autonomy, the attorney general, TNI commander and armed forces' chiefs of staff and the National Police chief," he said, adding that the state officials' agreement to the proposal remained questionable.
Gen. Endriartono Sutarto, the Army chief, said he hoped the President would not declare a state of emergency and that he would allow the nation to overcome the political crisis, democratically and constitutionally. "Gus Dur is a wise and democratic figure. I hope he will not take such a decision," said Endriartono, who accompanied Mahfud at the House meeting. Meanwhile, Amien Rais, chairman of MPR, said he was convinced that both TNI and the National Police would not support the President's proposal of issuing a decree on a state of civilian emergency.
"So far, both the military and the National Police have opposed any issuance of the decree because there are no reasons to conclude that the country is in a state of emergency," he said. House Speaker Akbar Tandjung also played down the President's statement, saying the military and the National Police would not back the President's wish to declare a state of emergency. "The President should not use the military and the National Police to maintain the status quo because, according to the Constitution, their main task is to defend the country and to maintain security and order at home," he said.
House factions have also threatened to call for an early special session if the President declared a state of emergency.



Posted in Politics @ 28 June 2001 00:02 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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