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PRD agrees with TNI members having the right to vote

Detik.com - February 18, 2006

Ken Yunita, Jakarta – The debate over the question of giving voting rights to the TNI (Indonesian military) and the police continues to provoke discussion. The People's Democratic Party (PRD) agrees with members of the TNI and police participating in the 2009 general elections.

PRD general chairperson Dita Indah Sari says this is in accordance with upholding human rights and there will be no adverse affects if the TNI and police are given the right to vote. Dita even believes that this will actually lead Indonesia in a healthier direction. "This could become a way for members of the TNI and police to [express their] aspirations, providing that it is accompanied by specific conditions", Dita told Detik.com on Saturday February 18.

The conditions meant by Dita are that the TNI's territorial command structure must be dismantled, that a legal basis exists that is clear and comprehensive with sanctions that are enforced, that the law deal with cases of human rights violations by TNI officers and that the function of national defense be gradually be shifted to the people themselves.

With regard to the reactions by those who do not agree with giving voting rights to the TNI and police in 2009 because the TNI is not yet ready, Dita says that this is irrelevant. "If [they're] not ready, it is because many aspects in the reform of the TNI have not yet been carried out, is there any guarantee that in 2014 [they] will be ready? It is precisely this that we can [use] to pressure the TNI to immediately [start] carrying out reform", said Dita.

In order to achieve this, Dita and the PRD plan to hold a hearing with the House of Representatives Commission I on defense. "But it's still just a plan", said Dita in concluding the discussion. (mar)

[Translated by James Balowski.]