TITLE=INDONESIAN POLITICS (L-O)
INTRO: A leading Indonesian opposition party has
withdrawn its support for presidential front-runner
Megawati Sukarnoputri. As Joe Cochrane reports from
Jakarta, the defection is a serious blow to Ms.
Megawati's chances in the October 20th election.
Text: National Awakening Party spokesman Alwi Shihab
says party leader Abdurrahman Wahid is bowing to the
wishes of a group of Muslim-based parties and is
running for president.
Mr.Shihab says Mr. Wahid, better known as Gus Dur, is
the most appropriate candidate among the rival
political factions in the People's Consultative
Assembly, the nation's highest legislative body.
He says the National Awakening Party - known as P-K-B
-- will join seven Muslim-based parties in supporting
Gus Dur, when the Assembly chooses the new president
on October 20th.
But Megawati Sukarnotputri's opposition Indonesian
Democratic Party of Struggle -- the P-D-I-P -- is
still hopeful she will get the P-K-B's support. Ms.
Megawati's party won 34-percent of the vote, the
largest bloc in June's landmark national election,
An advisor to Ms.Megawati, Kwik Kian Gie, says the P-
K-B is sending conflicting signals as the election
approaches. But he says his party will nonetheless
begin lobbying other parties to support Ms. Megawati's
Several members of the People's Consultative Assembly
have said there is now a three-way race between Ms.
Megawati, Gus Dur, and President B-J Habibie.
Ms. Megawati was expected to have little opposition
after winning the most votes in the June seventh
ballot. But the P-D-I-P has been unable or unwilling
to form coalitions with other parties within the
People's Consultative Assembly to ensure her victory.
Meanwhile, President Habibie's Golkar party has teamed
up with a Muslim-based group, called the "Central
Axis", to deny the P-D-I-P the chairmanship of the
Assembly and the Speakership of Parliament.
The 700-member Assembly consists of Parliament, 38 un-
elected representatives of the military, and 200
appointees from regional and special interest groups.
It remains unknown whether Ms. Megawati, the daughter
of former President Sukarno, can garner enough support
among these competing interests to become Indonesia's
first female president. (SIGNED)
07-Oct-1999 07:46 AM EDT (07-Oct-1999 1146 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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