President asks military to stay neutral ahead of 2014 elections

President asks military to stay neutral ahead of  2014 elections

The Indonesian Army Chief of Staff, General Pramono Edhie Wibowo, who will replaced by Lieutenant General Moeldoko. (FOTO ANTARA/Jessica Wuysang)

... we could do it in 2009, then why can't we do it in 2014?... "
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Yudhoyono has asked the National Defense Forces (TNI) also the Indonesian Army in particular to stay neutral and shun political practices ahead of the 2014 general elections.

He made the request as he appointed a new Army chief of staff at the presidential office here on Monday.

The Head of State has appointed Lieutenant General Moeldoko to replace General Pramono Edhie Wibowo who will end his term of office as Indonesian Army chief of staff later this month.

General Pramono who also attended the function said the President once made a similar request ahead of the 2009 elections. "If we could do it in 2009, then why can`t we do it in 2014?" he said.

Pramono quoted the President as saying that the TNI leadership has been on the right track. "He asked (the TNI) to continue it," he said.

Yudhoyono said what the people wish is a professional TNI and therefore, it needs to improve its capability and modernize its main armament systems (alutsista).

Yudhoyono wanted the welfare of soldiers and their families to continue to increase and underlined the need for the TNI to build closer relations with the people.

He further attached significance to the maintenance of internal solidity among the TNI and the people, the Indonesian Army, the Navy, and the Air Force as well as the TNI and the police.

He said the procurement of the military's main armament systems must be done in such a transparent way that it will not give an impression that budget fund has been used improperly.

President Yudhoyono has earlier said he will induct Lieutenant General Moeldoko as a new Army chief of staff on Wednesday (May 22).