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Will Wahid Declare the Martial Law?

Posted May. 28, 2001 07:35,   


Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid in his statement Monday did not use the words like a `state of emergency` or a `martial law`, although he mentioned that he would take a decisive measure to recover the order.

The nation`s chief security minister, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, often explained that President’s statement aimed at the maintenance of law and order, but not the declaring a state of emergency.

Despite the denial of the chief security minister, there are some doubts about President’s special statement as to whether it is one step further towards the declaration of the state of emergency. President Wahid recently said that ``if parliament does not stop the impeachment proceedings, a state of emergency will be declared.``

President Wahid chose the hard-stance because parliament will hold a meeting on 30th to decide whether to convene a special session of the People’s Consultative Assembly to begin the impeachment proceedings. In this meeting, it will be decided whether the plan of power-sharing with vice President Megawati Sukarnoputri, suggested by President Wahid, will be accepted or not. If this plan is not accepted, parliament will immediately convene the People’s Consultative Assembly to begin the impeachment proceedings. Vice President Megawati Sukarnoputri once expressed a negative view on the plan of power-sharing.

A state of emergency would allow Presidential powers to dissolve the parliament and to stop the impeachment proceedings. It would give police a wide-ranging power of search and arrest and allow officials to impose a curfew and censor the media which has been supportive to the impeachment proceedings.

Parliament leaders said that ``the declaring a state of emergency due to the impeachment proceedings is clearly unconstitutional. If a state of emergency is declared, we will immediately convene the People’s Consultative Assembly to begin the impeachment proceedings.`` The reason that President Wahid did not mention the declaration of a state of emergency was that he took into consideration the opposition from parliament.

Wahid’s supporters protested against the impeachment proceedings at Wahid’s hometown East Java. These supporters of Wahid claimed that they would send 1000 protestors to Jakarta in order to stop the impeachment proceedings.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian police announced that it has intensified the decree from the second level to the first level throughout Indonesia as of noon on 28th.

Hong Seong-Chul sungchul@donga.com