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Wiranto will not back any candidates in presidential poll JAKARTA - Indonesia's former Armed Forces Commander Wiranto, who was knocked out in July's presidential race, is opting to stay neutral in next month's concluding round between President Megawati Sukarnoputri and Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. In his first news conference after the Constitutional Court rejected his election appeal, Mr Wiranto also says his political career is not over.
The ex-Armed Forces Commander from the former ruling Golkar Party appeared with his running mate Salahuddin Wahid in the press conference on Friday. Mr Wiranto's political neutrality in next month's concluding round of the Presidential race, is in sharp contrast to Golkar Chairman Akbar Tandjung's support for President Megawati in what was dubbed a grand "Nationhood Coalition" last week. Mr Akbar is going all out to urge Golkar cadres to obey Party orders and vote for President Megawati or face disciplinary action.
Mr Wiranto said: "As you know, our supporters are many - 26 million voters - they cannot be ordered like commandos in an organisation that uses commando tactics." Mr Wiranto says his supporters are free to choose whomever they see fit to run the country. Aides say Mr Wiranto is disappointed with Mr Akbar's lukewarm support for him during July's election while energetically endorsing the President who is from a rival party. Mr Wiranto's opt-out paves the way for a Golkar Party clash but Mr Wiranto would not say if he will fight Mr Akbar in the Party's national leadership Congress later in the year.
Despite Mr Wiranto's presidential defeat, politics remains an option. He said: "Of course it all depends on the condition of the nation - whether our collective aspirations for a better Indonesia will be met." The former General also says he will turn down any offer to be in the next government. As the political jockeying intensifies, Mr Wiranto cautions the peaceful elections in Indonesia cannot be taken for granted.



Posted in Elections @ 28 August 2004 00:02 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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