APSN Banner

Megawati to back other parties in poll

South China Morning Post - April 2, 1997

Jenny Grant, Jakarta – The ousted leader of the Indonesian Democracy Party, Megawati Sukarnoputri, plans to withdraw support for the party in the elections as a protest against the man who unseated her.

"Megawati and her followers will use their voting rights to choose one of the other two parties," said a senior source.

He said Ms Megawati would make a statement within the next two weeks announcing her strategy for the May 29 elections, which will include withdrawing backing for the party as a sign that she does not support rival leader Suryadi.

Ms Megawati, daughter of Indonesia's first president, Sukarnoputri, was forced out of the leadership at a rebel congress in June. The Government and military backed the congress, which elected Mr Suryadi.

"She is withdrawing her support from Suryadi and therefore the current party executive. She will be telling supporters to use their vote for any other party," the source said.

The Indonesian Democracy Party, the ruling Golkar party and the Muslim-oriented United Development Party will contest 425 seats.

President Suharto personally appoints 75 members of the armed forces to the Lower House of Parliament.

The General Election Institute yesterday released the final list of 2,285 candidates. It contained the names of seven of Mr Suharto's relatives, including four of his children, but excluded the name of Ms Megawati, who remains an MP.

"This is the final list and there will be no changes," Walujo, the deputy secretary-general of the institute said as his assistants pinned up the candidate lists outside the election building in central Jakarta.

Mr Walujo said eight names had been dropped from the interim list because the candidates had died, resigned or failed to pass compulsory national security clearance.

The interim list, released in January, was criticised in the media for being nepotistic.

The popular Ms Megawati said she still had majority support from party members and would not give up her political ambitions.

"My supporters want the Government to reinstate my political rights as the party's leader," she said.

The chairman of the South Sulawesi branch has already urged his members to vote for Golkar. Another leader in Surabaya, East Java, has called on his members to vote for the United Development Party.