Sunday, February 19, 2006

Military's voting rights

General Election is three years away, but the competition has been started right after the ballot counted almost two years ago. The recent issue at stake is the military's voting right. Should they vote like other citizens or not?
The outgoing military commander General Endriartono Sutarto insists that the military is more than ready to exercise the right while others believe it would be better to do that in 2014 election.
PDI-P, the second largest party in the House of Representative (DPR) quickly accused the plan to have the military's voting right exercised in 2009 as part of president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono campaign for a second term in office.
The People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) Decree No. VIII/2000 stipulated that members of the military and the police have no voting right and no right to contest in the election. The MPR also agreed that the military and the police would maintain their seats in the DPR until 2004 and in the MPR until 2009.
In 2002, minister of home affairs under Megawati Soekarnoputri administration, Hari Sabarno, a three-star army general (retired), proposed a bill that grants voting rights to members of the military and the police.
But in his speech last week, President SBY said government remained opposed to military personnel voting in elections because it wanted to ensure their neutrality and improved professionalism.
President ordered military administrators to keep out of politics but work to improve their personnel's qualifications and welfare arguing a fundamental tenet of the achievement of democracy was the exclusion of the military from practical political activities, thus preventing se of military power for political gains.
What's the difference anyway?
Even without voting rights, the military maintains its superiority over civilians, right? Look at how many ministers are retired generals? How many governors and majors are military figures? Look at our legislative at the national and regional levels. We could list down thousands of retired military top-brass in the country's political parties.




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