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Wahid Tries to Declare a State of Emergency….Chaotic Political Phase in Indonesia

Wahid Tries to Declare a State of Emergency….Chaotic Political Phase in Indonesia

Posted May. 31, 2001 09:23,   


As Indonesian Parliament has decided to continue the procedure to impeach President Abdurrahman Wahid, the political phase in Indonesia continues to be chaotic due to an announcement that Wahid is planning to declare a state of emergency.

Detik News, quoting the words of Tamlin Armal, a professor at University of Indonesia who had an interview with president Wahid on 30th, stated in an Indonesian online newspaper yesterday, that President Wahid is planning to declare a state of emergency to disperse the parliament and hold an early general election..

Agence France-Presse (AFP) also said that Wahid had tried to declare a state of emergency in the evening of 30th, when the parliament decided to convene the People`s Consultative Assembly (MPR), yet, he had to abandon because of the opposition from major Ministers including the Security Minister Bambang Yudhoyono and the military.

When the news that Wahid was trying to break through the crisis by declaring a state of emergence were delivered, the opposition leaders fought back by saying that they can move up the schedule to convene MPR.

Akbar Tanjung, the Golkar party leader and parliamentary president, and Amien Rais, the MPR chief, said on 31st, ``If President Wahid tries to declare a state of emergency to stop the impeachment procedure, we will advance the schedule by 2 weeks to convene the special session.``

However, Tanjung indicates that there is a possibility for political resolution by saying, ``Although the decision to convene the special session has been made already, the president still has an opportunity to persuade the parliament.``

The parliament sent an official letter to convene the MPR special session to Amien Rais, the MPR chief, on 31st. If the special session is convened, president Wahid is required to explain about his charges and the lawmakers is to decide the result of whether they accept the explanation or not by casting votes. If not accepted, president Wahid is to be released from the office.

Meanwhile, in east Java, the homeland of Wahid, about 20.000 Wahid supporters criticized the parliament’s decision having demonstrations in many different regions. In east Java’s Bojonegoro, hundreds of protestors marched on the street holding banners that say `The Parliament is Devil` and `Revolution`.

In Pasuruan and Banuwangi of east Java, where one protestor was killed during the crash with police, policemen were allotted to guard the major buildings including government offices and opposition parties’ offices. The police have declared a first-degree admonition state in the region of east Java.

In Jakarta, the capital of the county, thousands of Wahid followers gathered at Monas square in central Jakarta and marched to the parliament building.

Yudhoyono Security Minister asked political leaders not to instigate the protestors. ``If protesters destroy public properties, they will be punished regardless of they positions,`` he warned.

Hong Seong-Chul sungchul@donga.com