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Mass organisations form political party Popor
Kompas - July 28, 2003
Jakarta -- The Indonesian National Front for Labour Struggle (FNPBI), the National Student League for Democracy (LMND), the National Farmers Union (STN) and 53 other mass organisation have established a new party, the People's United Opposition Party (Partai Persatuan Oposisi Rakyat, Popor), which was launched in Jakarta on Sunday (27/7).
"We have established this party as an effort to strengthen the national opposition forces which have been divided by the elite forces, the oppressors of the people", said Popor's [newly elected] general chairperson Dita Indah Sari before hundreds of supporters.
[Dita], an FNPBI leader, was accompanied by [Popor] general secretary Donny Pradana from STN, vice-chairperson Jusuf Lakaseng who is also the chairperson (sic) of the People's Democratic Party (PRD) and vice-chairperson Heru Atmadja from the Association of Victims of the New Order (Pakorba).
Dita hoped that Popor will be able to become a significant political force to resist the power of neo-colonialism. "Our platform is clear, anti-New Order [regime of former President Suharto], anti-militarism and anti-global capitalism", she affirmed.
"To date, the people's struggle against the corrupt elite has had no structure. So we are attempting to build a structure [to facilitate] this struggle through Popor", added LMND chairperson Iwan.
Dita admitted, that their party has not yet fulfilled the [official] requirements to contest the 2004 general elections because "We must still establish leadership bodies in 15 regencies and sub-districts".
According to Dita, at the moment Popor has leadership bodies in 50 provinces(1), 50 regencies and 25 sub-districts. "But we are optimistic that we can fulfill these requirements by August and take part in the 2004 elections", explained Dita.
Dita explained that they did not want to create false hopes. The 2004 elections will become an arena to measures the people's interests in supporting a united opposition, "we are emphasising the long term target of the party, that is to form a force of united struggle to bring victory to the people", she continued.
When asked by journalists about the question of presidential and vice-presidential candidates, Dita answered that "We will put forward a candidate after we have passed [the process of registration and verification] and are allowed to participate in the 2004 elections. However [we want to make] it clear, we will never put forward a presidential candidate who is a defendant [in a criminal case]"(2), she said.
Separately, Lakaseng said that the PRD would not be taking part in the 2004 elections. "We will concentrate our attention and forces in activities to campaign for Popor in the 2004 elections. If Popor encounters obstacles in participating in the 2004 elections, then the PRD is ready to become a vehicle for the votes of Popor supporters. As such, the term is a backup not a rival", he explained. (win/osd)
1. This paragraph is clearly erroneous since Indonesia only has 33 provinces. Popor has established itself in 106 cities where already have branches or are ready to form branches, covering a total of 22 provinces (the new electoral laws stipulate that a party must have branches in at least 50 per cent of the provinces).
2. This statement refers to efforts by Akbar Tanjung, chairperson of the former state ruling party Golkar, to be nominated as a presidential candidate despite having being convicted on charges of corruption (he is currently awaiting a decision by the supreme court).
[Translated by James Balowski.]