Monday, December 26, 2005

Indonesia's new military commander battle heats up

Indonesia most likely will have new military commander by early 2006 to replace General Endriartono Sutarto. Several names tipped to the very important post. They are General Ryamizard Ryacudu (former Army Chief of Staff), General Djoko Santoso (Army Chief of Staff), and Rear Marshall Djoko Suyanto (Air Force Chief of Staff).
Chairman of PDI-P faction (second largest) in the House of Representatives (DPR) Tjahyo Kumolo said today that the party led by former president Megawati Soekarnoputri is firm to support Ryamizard.
It was Megawati who proposed Ryamizard as the candidate to replace Sutarto at the end of her term last year. But the newly elected president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, a classmate of Ryamizard in military academy, withdrawn the letter to parliament sent by Megawati that told legislators of Sutarto's resignation and proposed Ryamizard, that time was army chief of staff, as his replacement.
Sutarto, 58, admitted that time that he tendered his resignation to Megawati in September 2004 because he was already past retirement age and there was a need for new leadership in the armed forces.
But SBY, supported by some polical parties, rejected Sutarto's resignation. House Commission I, in charge of military, however maintain its support for Ryamizard.
In February 2005, the President picked Santoso---who holds master degree in management---as the army chief of staff in a move analyst believed could dash Ryamizard's hope to be the military commander.
Santoso won praise for helping implement a peace pact between warring Muslims and Christians in the volatile eastern Moluccas islands. Santoso took over as military commander after the deal was signed in 2002.
National Awakening Party (PKB), a party of former president Abdurrahman Wahid, was also behind Ryamizard. But Effendi Choirie, one of the party's top executives and chairman of House Commission I, said today it is up to the president to propose the candidates for the military commander.
"If possible, it should be Ryamizard. But if the President won't propose Ryamizard, it is up to him," he said.
Choirie predicts the president would propose Air Force Chief of Staff Djoko Suyanto as the candidate based on the rotating system implemented since 1999. "Navy chief of staff already got the chance to lead the military. Now we have from the army. So, it would be Air Force's turn," he said.
But President SBY argues such system is not absolute, a sign that he might propose Santoso to replace Sutarto. What about Ryamizard? Well, he will enter retirement age next year.




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