Sultan declares Yogyakarta "City of the Republic"

Yogyakarta (ANTARA News) - Sultan Hamengkubuwono X declared Yogyakarta as "City of the Republic" here on Tuesday to mark the 65th anniversary of the moving of the Indonesian capital from Jakarta to the city on January 4, 1946.

The chief of the traditional Javanese sultanate who is also the governor of Yogyakarta special region was flanked by Vice Governor Sri Paduka Paku Alam IX, Yogyakarta Mayor Herry Zudianto, heads of Bantul and Sleman districts and deputy head of Gunungkidul district when making the declaration at the palace.

"I as the governor of Yogyakarta special region will issue a decree that will oblige people to commemorate January 4th as Yogyakarta`s anniversary as the City of the Republic ," he said.

He also called on all the people to support the move as a power for continuously developing sense of togetherness and contributing to the future of the region as part of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia.

Hamengkubuwono made the short speech before thousands of people who just finished conducting a cultural long march ahead of the declaration.

The march coordinator, Widihasto, said the declaration has a lot of significance among others for safeguarding national patriotic values and confirming the political stance of the people of Yogyakarta based upon the September 5, 1949 mandate.

Sultan hoped with the declaration Yogyakarta would remain open for all cultures in the country where modernization may stand harmoniously side by side with traditions.
"Hopefully the spirit of the declaration will be absorbed by all the people of Yogyakarta," he said.

During the declaration a puppet show was staged to describe the history of the moving of the Indonesian capital to the city on January 4, 1946.

The central government has planned to require a direct election for choosing the governor of Yogyakarta which has so far been automatically held by the Sultan of Yogyakarta.

The idea has drawn a lot of protests from the people in the region including the regional legislative assembly who wishes to retain the current system.

The draft legislation on the issue has been in the House of Representatives for discussion.(*)