TNI chief: servicemen`s voting right issue awaiting law

Jakarta (ANTARA News) – National Defense Forces (TNI) Chief Gen Djoko Santoso said the question of giving servicemen and police personnel the voting right would be decided by law.

“Just wait for the law regulating servicemen`s and police personnel`s right to vote,” Djoko Santoso said after attending the peak event of International Anti-narcotic Day 2010 here on Saturday.

On the occasion, the TNI chief said the provision of right to vote for the TNI members should be constitutional, referring to a law regulating the matter.

Asked if the discourse on the right to vote was an effort of certain party to include TNI in political arena, Djoko Santoso was reluctant to comment.

Instead, he said, “It should have an in depth study and constitutionally based,” the TNI chief said.

Meanwhile, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has said the discourse about the restoring of TNI right to vote should not be polemicized.

Speaking at a function to open a national seminar on national resilience at the National Resilience Institute (Lemhanas) building here on Tuesday, the president said freedom of expression in Indonesia was not banned.

But the head of state said the people could engage in all kinds of debate with a sound mind based on existing rules and regulations.

The president said whether or not the TNI personnel could vote should be based on the existing law.

“Who will make the law? Of course the president and the House of Representatives (DPR) whom the Constitution has given the mandate to do so,” the president said.

The head of state said that polemics without sound mind would only be tiring and energy consuming.

President Yudhoyono had previously aid that the TNI`s right to vote in the 2014 elections would be decided by the law, made by the DPR and the president based on the opinions of various parties.

He said if there was political maturity including understanding among military personnel to maintain the spirit of togetherness, it would not be impossible for the TNI personnel to have the right to vote. (Uu.O001/HAJM/H-YH/P003)

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