Indonesian parliament calls Suharto to resign
South News May 18
Jakarta: Speaker of the Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR) Harmoko said here on Monday that the DPR hoped that President Suharto would be wise enough to step down for the sake of national unity, according to the Antara news agency.

The dramatic statement by Speaker Harmoko was issued after a leadership meeting of the DPR attended by Speaker, Vice Speakers and chairmen of the four factions in the House. Harmoko said the 500-member House of Assembly would convene a meeting of all party leaders Tuesday to discuss the issue.

As Speaker, Harmoko is empowered to call an emergency session of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), the nation's top constitutional body that reelected Suharto in March to a seventh five-year term.
But Indonesian armed forces commander General Wiranto dismissed the call by the speaker of parliament.

"The statement made by Harmoko is an individual statement even though it was made in a collective manner. According to the constitution it does not have legal power,'' Wiranto said.

Harmoko said the House of Assembly had "studied with great care'' the unrest in the country and widespread wishes for reform. "The Speaker of the House, along with his deputies, hope for unity among the nation and that the president will wisely step down,'' he said.

Earlier 5,000 students swamped the grounds and buildings of parliament Monday to plead with legislators to make Suharto go. Police allowed several hundred students, lecturers and alumni from the University of Indonesia to enter a building in the Parliament complex. The protesters carried a petition calling on Suharto and Vice President Bacharuddin Habibie to step down. Thousands of students also demonstrated against Suharto in Bandung, Surabaya and Yogyakarta.

``Everybody is talking about the need for reform,'' said retired army Lt. Gen. Solihin, who joined the students. ``The problem is how, when, and where.''

Muslim leader Amien Rais said he planned to summon 1 million people into Jakarta's streets for demonstrations on Wednesday, the 90th anniversary of the nationalist movement against Dutch rule.

"We will go ahead with people power demonstrations on the 20th across Indonesia to demand that President Suharto step down,'' he said. But Rais said he now feared there would be violence after Gen. Wiranto said plans for big anti-government demonstrations would lead to chaos and that the military would deal harshly with rioters.