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Defense minister opposes voting rights for TNI members

Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu has opposed a proposal to allow military personnel to vote in elections because it would disrupt their solidity.

"It is not the time yet. Maybe it is still too far, and I disagree with it. Why? Because if they (soldiers) have their voting rights, there will be PDIs soldiers, Golkars soldiers, others soldiers. When the party becomes involved in a conflict, these soldiers will also be involved. This is dangerous, it should not happen," he said here on Monday.

Last week, during a hearing at the House of Representatives, Indonesian Military (TNI) commander General Gatot Nurmantyo asked lawmakers to reconsider the issue of voting rights to TNI members. But he suggested this should be done after 2024, when legislative, presidential and regional elections would take place simultaneously for the first time in the countrys history.

The decision to exercise voting rights for soldiers should be reviewed from many angles, he said.

A legislator of the Nations Awakening Party (PKB) faction H Lukman Edy said voting rights for TNI personnel would become a milestone for Indonesian democracy.

He said that soldiers in many developed countries had the right to vote in a general election.

However, some lawmakers rejected the proposal saying that it was essential to maintain TNIs impartiality during elections.

"Its better for TNI to stand above all elements of the country," said Golkar lawmaker Agun Gunandjar Sudarsa. Participating in the elections will disable TNIs ability to embrace all groups impartially, he added.

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