Army tells Gus Dur : No emergency rule

Military vows to protect the August national assembly impeachment hearings against the President.

The Indonesian army yesterday warned President Abdurrahman Wahid against declaring a state of emergency as a means of keeping himself in power – and vowed to protect the August national assembly impeachment hearings against him.

The Indonesian leader, in comments made in Australia and New Zealand yesterday, declared that he would survive “100 per cent” any move to topple him, and said he would not hesitate to invoke emergency rule and call on the military for help.

But the remarks drew a quick response from the army brass.

Military sources said that the army would deploy troops to join the police in securing the special session of the national assembly (MPR) if the President attempted to dissolve the legislature.

“If he carries out acts that are unconstitutional, we have to act in the interest of the state … The MPR and Parliament are the legitimate voice of Indonesians. We won’t support any moves by the palace to dissolve such institutions,” a senior intelligence source said.

He added that there was broad support within the military to block any such move by Mr Abdurrahman.

The military’s warning to the 60-year-old leader also stems from intelligence assessments that rioting could break out in Jakarta and major cities like Surabaya, Semarang, Medan and Ujung Pandang.

“It is not a simple matter of declaring emergency rule and imprisoning key legislators and expect business as usual after that,” the source said.

“These legislators have millions of supporters and they are going to take to the streets. When they do, don’t expect them to carry white flags of defeat.”

Parliament Speaker Akbar Tandjung told The Straits Times that contrary to the President’s view, it was impossible to strikea political compromise now.

Mr Abdurrahman told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in Sydney that he remained confident of striking a peaceful deal.

But Mr Akbar said that any power-sharing plans – with Mr Abdurrahman remaining as a symbolic state head and Vice-President Megawati Sukarnoputri running the government – were not workable as both leaders opposed the idea.

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