Posted by: mel | June 10, 2009

Mega-Pro celebrates Sukarno’s birthday

Jakarta Post | Dicky Christanto, RengasDengklok   |  Sun, 06/07/2009 11:02 AM  |  Headlines

Presidential hopefuls Megawati Soekarnoputri and her running mate Prabowo Subianto celebrated the 108th birthday of Sukarno in Rengasdengklok, West Java, with 20,000 supporters.

Rengasdengklok is a historical site where Sukarno and Hatta “were abducted” by pro-independence youths in a failed attempt to have them declare Indonesia’s independence on Aug. 16, 1945. The two returned to Jakarta to declare independence on the following day.

Before going to the site, Megawati, with her campaign team, paid a visit to the tomb of founding vice president Hatta at the Tanah Kusir public cemetery, South Jakarta.

During the celebration, Megawati and Prabowo visited the historical house of Djiaw Kie Siong, a Chinese Indonesian who had sheltered Sukarno and Hatta. Then Megawati and Prabowo signed a political agreement with an alliance of labor unions, vowing to phase out the commercial and industrial practice of outsourcing and aiming to declare May Day a national holiday.

“We mean business here and we have started by signing this agreement. This contract would be followed by other actions later on,” said Megawati, who signed the document in her capacity as chairperson of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), and not as a presidential candidate.

The celebration that took place at a nearby historical monument was watched closely by the local elections supervisory committee.

Prabowo said that he would fight to free workers from unfair practices such as outsourcing and the contract system.

“Let this poor *labor* practice become the example of our seriousness to fight for workers rights in the future,” he said.

Megawati was accompanied by her siblings, Guntur Soekarnoputro and Sukmawati Soekarnoputri. Megawati’s daughter, Puan Maharani was also seen at the event, while Megawati’s husband, Taufik Kiemas, appeared to be absent.

Senior PDI-P cadres and the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) supporting the Mega-Pro ticket, also took an active part in the gathering.

Megawati, also Sukarno’s eldest daughter, then asked her audience to help preserve and put into practice Soekarno’s teachings, prioritizing the principle of cooperation, as it is, she said, the only way to defuse the prolonged economic crisis.

“As long as we don’t have sovereignty over our own economy, culture and politics then we don’t deserve freedom. And these goals can only be achieved through cooperating and helping each other out from the crisis,” she said.

Hundreds of party banners and national flags were planted along the road leading to site of the celebration. The event was part of the specified indoor campaigning period lasting until June 9.

PDI-P Deputy Chairman Maruarar Sirait denied the event was a cover for a public campaign.

“As you can see both Mega and Prabowo did not bring their party symbols or banners, sticking to their original plan *for the meeting* that is, to remind people to preserve Soekarno’s teachings. I observe that this does not violate any election regulations,” he said.

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