Indonesian pro-democracy organisation relaunched

September 6, 1995

A 150-strong delegation of students, farmers and workers visited the Indonesian national parliament on August 23 as part of launching a campaign for the repeal of five repressive political laws. The 1985 laws restrict political parties to the existing three, provide many opportunities for the government to intervene in the activities of political parties and mass organisations, restrict the role of parliament and ensure the ability of the government to appoint up to 60% of some representative bodies.
The delegation was organised by the Provisional Presidium of the People's Democratic Union (PRD) and supported by Students in Solidarity with Democracy in Indonesia (SMID), Indonesian Centre for Labour Struggle (PPBI), the National Peasants Union (STN) and student delegations from Medan and central Sulawesi.
Also present were representatives from the Surakarta People's Union, an activist organisation sympathetic to some of the ideas of the late president Sukarno, and artists and writers from the city of Solo, led by well-known poet and dramatist Wiji Thukul.
The delegation had a sympathetic hearing from MPs from the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) when the PRD presented its demands for the repeal of the five laws and explained that its campaign would carry the slogans: lower prices, raise wages and repeal the five political laws. The delegation's visit also received wide media coverage.
The PRD was formed in 1993 to galvanise support for a militant pro-democratic program. Its development was hampered by disagreements between its central office holders and the majority of its local representatives.
The mandate for the initial presidium was withdrawn and a new provisional presidium was formed following a meeting of representatives from the PRD's city support bases. The new chairperson, Budiman Sudjatmiko, and other office holders were announced at the offices of the Institute for the Defence of Human Rights on August 19.

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