Denpasar – TNI-AD (army) chief General Ryamizard Ryacudu has again reminded his officers to take a neutral stand in the coming elections, and not take sides with any of the political parties.
“Don’t let yourselves be influenced to take sides with one of the political groups, either the participants in the elections or other political forces outside of the ranks of formal politics”, said Ryacudu in Denpasar on Tuesday.
While inaugurating Brigadier General Supiadin Yusuf AS the new commander of the Udayana/XI regional military command to replace Major General Agus Soeyitno, Ryacudu emphasised that during the 2004 elections TNI-AD must be able to play the role of the people’s defender, so that the people can participate in the festival of democracy free of pressure.
“Play the role of protector so that the people are free from various forms of pressure which may arise during the coming elections”, he said firmly.
Ryacudu also explained that TNI-AD’s neutrality and commitment to participate in safeguarding the 2004 elections and ensuring their success represents a determination which must be understood as a contribution from the military and not be interpreted as an ambition to extend TNI-AD’s role.
“Once again I emphasise, the participation of the military in securing the coming elections, is absolutely not an ambition to extend the role of TNI-AD”, he said emphatically. (Ant/O-1)
[Abridged translation by James Balowski.]