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May 2004 Special Issue

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Is there room for Cinderella pairing?

Ridwan Sijabat and Kurniawan Hari, Jakarta

The "Cinderella ticket" is perhaps a fitting description for the pairing of Hamzah Haz and Agum Gumelar, especially given that they like to cast themselves as underdogs in the upcoming presidential election due to their lack of political and financial support.

Hamzah, the vice president and leader of the United Development Party (PPP), which came in third in the April 5 legislative election, said his campaign had only Rp 500 billion to spend, but believed this would be enough to get the supporters out during the month-long campaign.

He said he and Agum were determined to create a new Indonesia with better social welfare, the upholding of social justice and better handling of the economic and moral crises.

"The development policy will give more attention to religious freedom, improvements in the quality of education and technology, and community economic development," he said after Friday prayers in Bogor, West Java.

Born in Ketapang, West Kalimantan, on Feb. 15, 1940, Hamzah studied economics and graduated from the State Cooperatives Academy, Yogyakarta, in 1962. He also studied economics at Tanjungpura University in West Kalimantan in 1970.

Agum, a retired army lieutenant general, would appear to have a strong base in the military. He has said he will focus on campaigning among servicemen's dependents and ex-servicemen nationwide, as well as in his native province of West Java.

"The 8.15 percent of voters who supported PPP in the legislative election is expected to remain loyal. Our party workers in the provinces, regencies/municipalities and districts are now trying to win over the swing voters," he said after a meeting with officials from the Association of Ex-servicemen and Servicemen's Dependents (Pepabri) here on Friday.

He said Hamzah and he had agreed to Create a new cabinet structure, and would declare all-out war on corruption if they won the election.

"The National Police will be subordinated to the Ministry of Home Affairs, or the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, while the Indonesian Military (TNI) will be subordinated to the Ministry of Defense. The TNI will be led by the joint chiefs of staff. The economy must be developed to create more jobs and corruption must be eradicated," he said.

Agum, who was born in Tasikmalaya, West Java, on Dec. 17, 1945, studied medicine at Padjadjaran University for one year before switching to the military. He is a graduate of the National Military Academy (AMN).

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