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PRD to register to participate in elections

Detik - February 17, 1999

Jakarta – The Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) has decided to participate in the 1999 elections. The Chairperson of the Central Leadership Council of the Peoples Democratic Party (KPP-PRD), Faizol Reza, announced this at a press conference held in the offices of the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) on Tuesday afternoon, February 16.

This decision was taken at a National Working Meeting of the PRD held during February 13-14. The PRD assessed the current situation as a transition period from a militarist capitalist dictatorship to democratisation or to the opening up of democratic space.

According to Faizol, the people were now in a position to wage both spontaneous and organised resistance if they considered that state policy was against their interests or aspirations. "This is a period of transition from dictatorship to genuine democracy." said Faizol. While the PRD will participate in the coming elections, the PRD maintained its accusation that the government was not serious about carrying out elections that would genuinely help solve the economic and political crisis in Indonesia. The PRD accused the government of primarily seeking legitimacy in the eyes of foreign investors and international donor agencies. The PRD could see that the moderate opposition was succeeding in taking advantage of objective conditions to win broad support for the coming elections. The PRD thinks that many people will support these parties in the coming elections.

Faizol expressed his concern about the rise of "money politics" or the use of the tactic of divide and rule among the people as a means of parties trying to win the elections.

However even though the elections will be carried out under such undemocratic conditions, the PRD assesses that the elections will provide an important momentum in the political dynamics of the country. The PRD is also of the view that the elections can be a good opportunity for the political education of the people.

Budiman Sujatmiko, the General Chairman of the PRD who is still imprisoned in Cipinang Prison, stated via Faizol that the PRD did not want to become just an electoral machine. "We want our party to be a school for politics for the people. Budiman stated that there must be a political catalyst operating in the midst of the false consciousness that now dominates among the people. Because of this the PRD has decided to register and participate in the coming June elections.

Faizol stated that the PRD now had 14 Regional Leadership Committees. The PRD also stated that had a number of Town Leadership Councils in the 14 provinces.

The PRD stated that the conditions were not yet appropriate for elections in Aceh and Irian Jaya. The PRD was of the view that a State of Military Operations were still in effect so that there would be no possibility for the people to express their opposition to the authorities. The PRD reaffirmed its support for a referendum in East Timor.

[Translated by Max Lane, ASIET National Coordinator]