Fwd (ABC): Indonesian Parliament agrees to censure Wahid

Alan Bradley alanb at SPAMelf.brisnet.org.au
Thu Feb 1 22:04:38 MST 2001


>From the ABC (http://www.abc.net.au):

Indonesian Parliament agrees to censure Wahid

The Indonesian Parliament has decided to issue a formal censure letter
against President Wahid, which could lead to a lengthy impeachment process
over his alleged involvement in two corruption scandals.

The Parliament stopped short of acting on demands from some legislators
calling for his resignation.

The Indonesian Parliament accepted a damaging report involving President
Wahid in two money scandals including allegations that President Wahid
illegally accepted $4 million from the Sultan of Brunei and the people
acting on his behalf stole $8 million from a government agency.

The report concludes that President Wahid abused his power.

The scandals have led to mounting calls for him to resign.

Acclamation

The decision to censure the country's first democratically-elected
president was taken by acclamation in a late-night plenary session of the
500-seat People's Representative Council (DPR) after a walkout of Wahid's
supporters.

"The DPR hereby decides to issue a memorandum to reprimand Abdurrahman
Wahid in that he has indeed violated the state guidelines, namely the 1945
Constitution article on professional oaths, and an MPR (People's
Consultative Assembly) decree of good governance," it said.

The censure could lead to Wahid's impeachment after a four month interval,
MPs emerging from the session said. But they disagreed on whether it or not
it was meant only as a warning that would enable Wahid to serve out the
rest of his five year term which ends in 2004.

"This is the beginning of the impeachment process," DPR chairman Akbar
Tanjung told reporters flatly after the motion was moved.

He was referring to the three month period the house would give Wahid to
mend his ways, after which it could issue a further warning if he did not,
and then after one month convene the upper house to launch impeachment
proceedings.

"Tonight," Tanjung replied when asked when the three month period would
begin.

But Dimiyati Hartono of the Indonesian Democracy Party for Struggle (PDIP),
headed by Vice president Megawati Sukarnoputri, called the censure a
warning.

"This means that the President can continue his services, and that is
important. This is a political warning to the president, that he must not
repeat those actions. There will be no second chance," Hartono said.

"According to me this is just a warning," he added.

The late night decision capped a tumultuous day, which saw both the
military and the Vice president Megawati, both of whom Wahid had said only
days earlier were his allies, turn against him through their Parliament
factions.

As they turned, Justice Minister Yusril Mahendra, told reporters at the
palace that Wahid was discounting the seriousness of his predicament,
confident that "the people support me."

And as unconfirmed rumors swirled through the capital of Wahid trying to
order a state of emergency, thousands of both pro and anti-Wahid protesters
took to the streets to stage peaceful demonstrations both at Parliament and
at the presidential palace.






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