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Political groups create opposition forum

AFX-ASIA - July 31, 1998

Jakarta – The leaders of 11 political groupings have formed an opposition forum to prevent a victory by the ruling Golkar party in the next elections in 1999, newspapers quoted leaders of the political groups as saying. "A Golkar victory should be prevented, Golkar should the halted, rather than let the state be ruined," Ridwan Saidi, head of the Masyumi Baru Party, said.

Saidi and the leaders of 10 other parties have set up the Forum Komunikasi Partai-Partai Pro-reformasi Total (Forum for the Communication of Pro-Total Reforms Parties), Kompas said. The forum, in which all member parties are equal, will implement programs agreed on by the members, Saidi said.

Sri Bintang Pamungkas, a former lawmaker who now heads the United Democracy Party of Indonesia (PUDI), said the forum is not a coalition or a merger of the parties, but an institution for cooperation between the members. The other participants are the National Democrat Party, The Commoner's Party, the Islamic Brethen Party, the Economy Party of the People of Indonesia, the Indonesian Nationalist Party, the Murba Party, the Marhaen People's Party, the Indonesian Workers' Party and the Alliance of Indonesian Democrats Party.

[On July 8, representatives from nine farmers organisations in North Sumatra announced the formation of the Indonesian Farmers United Federation (Federasi Serikat Petani Indonesia, FSPI). In its founding statement FSPI said that it was a manifestation of the commitment and consistency of the struggle by farmers for reform is based on religious belief, solidarity, independence, democracy, non-violence and non-discrimination. FSPI's first campaign will be to assist farmers in Lampung, South Sumatra, whose harvest has failed - James Balowski.]