Rabu, 25 Desember 2013

INDONESIA'S POLICE, MILITARY PLEDGE NEUTRALITY AHEAD OF GENERAL ELECTIONS 2014 by Fardah

   Jakarta, Dec 25, 2013 (Antara) - Indonesia's security forces will play crucial roles in ensuring smooth, peaceful and fair implementation of direct general elections to elect president, vice president and legislators in 2014.
        Next year, legislative elections will be held on April 9, after a campaign period between January 11 and April 5, while the presidential election is expected to be held on July 9.
        The general elections will be organized by Indonesia's General Elections Commission (KPU) with the cooperation of institutions such as the General Elections Supervisory Body Bawaslu), the National Police and the Government Goods and Service Procurement Policy Agency (LKPP).

        The National Police (Polri) and the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) are not allowed to vote, as they are expected to be the nonpartisan professional security forces and unifying elements of the nation.
         As the national gears up for the next year's general elections, President Susilo Yudhoyono recently reminded the Indonesian military in general and the Army in particular, to stay neutral and shun political practices ahead of the elections.
         On a separate occasion, President Yudhoyono had stated that the Indonesian military, the TNI, must be able to adjust and display the results of its internal reforms during next year's general elections.
        "We will again hold legislative and presidential elections. Reform results must be shown in the general elections next year. Make sure that TNI's stance is parallel with that of the state," he had emphasized during his address at the commemoration of the 68th anniversary of TNI on October 5.
        He noted that reform efforts that have been carried out since 1998 have shown significant results.
        "TNI's reform agenda has been completed. Since 1998, TNI has consistently and seriously conducted internal reforms. I thank all TNI members who have completed TNI's long reform process," he stated.
        The results of TNI reforms must be realized in various aspects of statehood and nationhood, including the legislative and presidential elections, he pointed out.
        Earlier, on October 3, TNI Commander General Moeldoko stated that TNI will be neutral in the next general elections, though it will help the General Elections Commission (KPU) with the implementation.
          "We have banned soldiers and commanders (from being involved in politics). We will fire them if they are caught (being involved in them). We have also banned the usage of TNI assets by political parties. If we have a building, it may not be used for the purpose. Also, our trucks may not be used for campaign activities. We will fire those found doing that," the general affirmed after a rehearsal for the commemoration of the 68th anniversary of the Air Force at Halim Perdanakusuma Air Force base in East Jakarta.
        He explained that all TNI members should be neutral in their behaviour and spirit. General Moeldoko, who was appointed as the TNI commander on August 30, even bet his head if defunct dual military-civilian functions of TNI re-emerged!
   "The dual functions of the Indonesian Armed Forces would not emerge again. If they do, you may behead me," he reiterated.
        Urging people not to be suspicious of TNI's goodwill, General Moeldoko stated that TNI`s help to the KPU is genuine, even if KPU requires transportation to distribute elections logistics. He confirmed that TNI is ready to help in providing the means without getting involved in KPU's affairs.
        New National Police Chief General Sutarman, on his day of appointment, on October 25, pledged that the police will remain neutral in the general elections next year and will ensure that they (the general elections) are conducted in a safe and secure manner.
         "The police will keep a careful watch over the stages of the elections - from the printing of the ballots to their distribution to voting centers, and will work to the fullest," he had stated after his appointment as the new police chief by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the palace.
       "The police must remain neutral in the elections. We will remain on guard all through the stages of the elections, including the presidential elections, so that people can comfortably cast their ballots to choose the best legislative candidates to represent them," he added.
          Sutarman reiterated on several occasions, his readiness to guard the election process, adding, "The general elections must be guarded to ensure they run peacefully, fairly and honestly."
   He stated that securing the elections would be his priority, adding that the police would be one of the parties directly involved in the process, from the beginning to the end.
        "The police and other security agencies will work together to secure the entire process of the elections, and I have given an order that all police officers must remain neutral in connection with the elections," he stated.
        Sutarman also stated that he would start his elections security program by fielding personnel throughout the community to ensure security, order and prevent possible conflicts.
        Some 20 thousand police officers will be deployed to keep guard during parliamentary elections in April next year.
       The Indonesian police have mapped regions that are considered prone to conflicts ahead of the country`s general elections in 2014.
        "What is obvious is that there are vulnerabilities in big cities. Indications of conflicts could easily be seen based on local elections so far such as in Maluku, South Sulawesi and Palembang (South Sumatra)," the National Police`s head of security maintenance, Commissioner General Badrodin Haiti stated recently.
         He noted that vulnerability in a region is affected by a number of factors such as political development, security disruptions and geographic conditions of the region concern.
        "Conflicts always happen internally or between parties including between legislative candidates," he added.
        Despite the fact, he pointed out that the police could not predict potential conflicts that might take place, and so the police have to observe the developments during different stages of implementation of the general elections that have now just begun.
       Geographic as well as infrastructure conditions could also determine vulnerability of a region as certain quarters could use these conditions for disrupting security, he stated.
        "...Such as Nias or Papua. The police may not be able to fully cover these regions and so it is not impossible for manipulation or delays to happen in these remote regions, making it vulnerable with regard to general elections," he stated.
         The police have arranged for leadership meetings in December to prepare regional police commanders with regard to securing next year`s general elections. He stated that preparations would include personnel, software and preconditioning the community as well as training.
        The Indonesian Army has also stated that security for the elections would be the priority assignment for all army military units.
        "The main task of securing the elections is given to the police, but we have also received a budget from the government for ensuring security during the elections," stated Army chief of staff General Budiman recently.
         He noted that the preparations made by the army (TNI AD) include providing communications equipment, vehicles and mastering information technology.
        "Almost 70 percent of the vehicles for the village command chiefs have been provided by the state. There are no more donations from persons or other officials," confirmed General Budiman.
        Regional military command chiefs from several parts of the country recently gathered to discuss elections security preparations and they will report to the Army Headquarters.
       Twelve national political parties and three local political parties of Aceh Province will participate in the upcoming elections. The number is much less than those in 2004 at 24 political parties, and in 2009 at 34.
    (F001/INE)
EDITED BY INE
    

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