Wahid accused by parliament
The Indonesian parliament has voted by an overwhelming majority to accept
the report accusing President Abdurrahman Wahid of involvement in two
financial scandals involving millions of dollars.
The decision was approved by 393 votes to four.
After the vote, thousands of protesters began heading from parliament
towards the presidential palace, prompting armoured cars to take up
positions, reports said.
The 51 members of Mr Wahid's own party, the National Awakening Party,
walked out of the debate, drawing jeers and shouts from other deputies.
Some members of the 500-seat house were also absent.
One of the party's legislators said they were leaving in protest because
their voice was not heard by the forum.
Immediately after the vote, MPs began discussing whether to accept a
formal censure against the president, which would be the first step
towards possible impeachment and Mr Wahid's removal from office.
The second-largest party in parliament, Golkar, has said it would push for
the president to be put on trial.
Police are on full alert and have deployed extra riot police and razor
wire around the parliament, where supporters and opponents of the
embattled president have gathered throughout the day.
President Wahid has ordered police to use caution in dealing with
protesters and to fire warning shots only if necessary.
The corruption scandal has provoked street protests since last week.
On Monday, several thousand demonstrators stormed the gates of parliament
demanding the president step down.
On Wednesday, Mr Wahid insisted he could still count of the support of Ms
Megawati Sukarnoputri, his popular deputy president, as well as that of
But Megawati's Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle party (PDIP), which
has the most seats in parliament, swiftly accepted the report.
The PDIP has urged Mr Wahid to provide an explanation over the scandals.
"The [upper] house must send a formal reprimand to the president," said
Laksamana Sukardi, a prominent PDIP member.
President Wahid, who went on national television to deny involvement in
the scandals on Tuesday, has vowed to serve until his term ends in 2004.
'Corruption and collusion'
The parliamentary committee which produced the report also accused the
president of lying to the public and abusing his power.
The report accuses the president of abusing his powers, lying to the
public and creating a new form of corruption, collusion and nepotism
within the presidential palace.
However the report appeared to lack concrete evidence against Mr Wahid,
the country's first democratically-elected head of state.
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