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Leader 'must have military background'

South China Morning Post - September 10, 1997

Jenny Grant, Jakarta – Indonesia must be led by a former member of the military until the year 2005, according to a top analysts.

Juwono Sudarsono, vice-governor of the National Resilience Institute, a military think-tank, said civilian bureaucrats were "lazy" and "not qualified" to lead the country.

"The armed forces are the only institution in society that can hold the country together. They have the vision, the discipline, the hierarchy and the ability to effectively organise political ideas into action," said Mr Sudarsono.

He said the president and vice-president should both come from military stock until 2005.

President Suharto, a former general, is widely expected to run for a seventh term when the 1,000-member Peoples' Consultative Assembly meets in March to elect a new leader and deputy. The next term is from 1998 to 2003.

"Every officer who moves up the ladder from second lieutenant to brigadier would have gone to at least three or four commands so that they get a feel for the pulse of the country. This is the essence of political leadership," Mr Sudarsono said.

He said civilian politicians were too busy fighting over internal disputes to focus on providing national leadership. "The bickering shows us they're not qualified for greater state tasks," he said.