ASIA/INDONESIA - Results of elections: Golkar Party scores a victory, General Wiranto is back on the scene

Wednesday, 5 May 2004

Jakarta (Fides Service) - Indonesia’s General Electoral Commission has announced the results of parliamentary and administrative elections held a month ago on 5 April: the Golkar Party, of which former dictator Suharto was a member, won a relative majority with 21.6% of the votes, whereas the Party of president Megawati Sukarnoputri, PDI-P (Struggle for Democratic Indonesia Party), won 18.5%, followed by the National Reawakening Party 10.5% led by former president Abdurrahman Wahid, and the United Party for Development 8.1%, led by vice president Hamzah Haz, the Democratic Party 7.4%, the Islam Party for Prosperity and Justice a conservative Muslim group which obtained 7.3% of the votes.
Observers say the results are a negative sign for president Megawati who could be seriously damaged by presidential elections scheduled for July. In the lead now, according to surveys, is Golkar candidate General Wiranto, former Defence Minister and Indonesian army Commander-in-chief accused by a UN Court of crimes against humanity in the massacres in East Timor. The General, the accusers say, knew that the army was behind the pro-Indonesian militia which committed massacres in East Timor after the referendum on independence. Other analysts say Wiranto encouraged the fighting in the Moluccas in 1999 to create instability and chaos in Indonesia and so legitimate the use of force and the power and financial backing of the army of which he was the commander.
Also Bishop Petrus Canisius Mandagi, Catholic Bishop of Amboina, with regard to new violence in the Moluccas started on 25 April, said recently to Fides: “ The violence was obviously provoked by groups with political aims and it is connected with elections in Indonesia.. There are people who want to stir up violence and instability in the Moluccas to demonstrate that the country needs a strong leadership, a member of the army, although today he is no longer in the armed forces. These clashes in Ambon are a sort of extended electoral campaign and the people of Moluccas are paying the price”.
Today Wiranto, aged 57, back on the political scene, accuses President Megawati of leading the country to the brink of chaos and “Balkanisation”. The General based his electoral campaign entirely on security and a firm hand with regard to the threat of separatists in Aceh, Molucche, Papua. This is the only way, according to the General, to improve the economy and attract foreign investments. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 5/5/2004 lines 45 words 451)