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Jakarta Post

Lawmaker opposes voting rights for military personnel

  • Marguerite Afra Sapiie
    Marguerite Afra Sapiie

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, October 5, 2016   /  06:41 am
 Lawmaker opposes voting rights for military personnel Indonesian Military Commander Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo (right) shakes hands with Army Chief of Staff Gen Mulyono, after a transfer of office ceremony on July 15. Mulyono replaced Gatot, who was promoted to military commander. ( Sukamto)

A lawmaker has opposed the request made by Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo to allow military personnel to take part in elections.

"The military is a state instrument and the country's armed force and [as such] should guard its neutrality. It will be dangerous if the personnel are given the political right to vote in elections as they will take sides," said Supiadin Aries Saputra, a member of House of Representatives Commission I overseeing intelligence, defense and foreign affairs, in Jakarta on Tuesday.

Amending the law, he added, would have negative implications for the country’s two-decade military consolidation process and especially threatened the country's democratization process.

Allowing the TNI to take part in elections would create disunity as political parties would try their hardest to gain the support of the military, Supiadin said.

"It can't happen [even in 10 years] except if our country's democracy is already established by then. Welfare [for military personnel] should also be accounted for. What if the candidates make financial promises to TNI personnel?" Supiadin said.

During an interview with Kompas TV on Monday, Gatot said he hoped that military personnel would gain their rights to vote in elections in the next 10 years.

Under the current law, military personnel are not allowed to vote, however their families have full political rights.  (bbn)

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