AID TUESDAY. MAY 19, 1998 INDONESIA THE SALINA JOURNAL Suharto maintains military support But he loses backing of Parliament supporters, who call for his ouster By .CHRISTOPHER TORCHIA 77iqjAs5octated Press JAKARTA, Indonesia — His nation in turmoil after a week of deadly rioting, President Suharto lost the support of top Parliament allies Monday but held onto the all-important backing of Indonesia's powerful military. Parliament Speaker Harmoko said Monday that leaders of Parliament's four factions would make a joint appeal today for Suharto to step down. "We will urge Suharto to resign for the integrity and the unity of tfte nation," Har- moko said as mqre than 3,000 student protesters rallied for political change outside the Parliament building, guarded by a cordon of troops. : The autocratic Suharto, his power virtually unassailable for three decades, now finds his government splintering, riven by the strain of the nation's financial crisis ; and ever louder demands for new leadership. *,;Last week's rioting, burning and looting over food and fuel price increases killed at.least 500 people in the capital and loosened Suharto's hold on this nation of 200 million people, the world's fpurth most-populous. On Monday, years of courting military brass paid off for Suhar- to, himself a retired army general. Indonesia's armed forces chief, Gen. Wiranto, indicated at a news conference that Suharto should stay in power and guide the implementation of political reforms. THEATRES For MOVIE Selections and SHOWTIMES Call: 825-91O5 We ve gone world wide web! ivwiv.dicliinsonlheatre5.com SUHARTO RANGER'S STEAK & SEAFOOD Steaks • Seafood • Prime Rib • Chicken Fried Steak Cocktails • Lunch & Dinner Features • Private Rooms *TV's Lunch I l:30-l:30Tues.-Fri.« Dinner open 5:30 p.m.Tues.-Sat 12th & N. Broadway, Salina 823-3491 Books'MusK'Vkteo Books & Video Mid State Plaza Downtown Sunset Plaza 827-4568 825-6746 823-1697 The Associated Press An Indonesian flag flies overhead Monday as students from various universities cover their faces to avoid identification during a mass rally demanding the ouster of President Suharto. Any transition of power should be handled by an electoral assembly, Wiranto said, rejecting Harmoko's assertion that Suharto should heed political leaders' wishes and quit. "Based on the constitution, the statement has no legal basis," he said. With the backing of the 400,000- strong military, Suharto's authority is secure for now despite the bloody riots. Hundreds of thousands of students are pressing for his ouster. "The military is the only and the most powerful party in the country," said Dr. Salim Said, an Indonesian armed forces expert. In fact, the military forms its own faction in Parliament and dwarfs the three civilian parties in influence. Earlier Monday, thousands of students shook hands with troops guarding Indonesia's Parliament in a peaceful protest under the relentless tropical sun. Some placed flowers in the barrels of M-16s. Others hugged the crews of tanks and armed personnel carriers parked outside the legislature. "We must prevail! We must prevail!" the students cried. Suharto held urgent talks Monday with his vice president and key Cabinet ministers, while an aide said he would respond to the parliamentary challenge today. Suharto has held sway over Indonesia for 32 years and is serving his seventh five-year term, which ends in 2003. A generation of Indonesians have never known another president. One of the last of the world's great Cold War strongmen, Suhar- to has said in recent days that it is "not a problem" for him to step down if the people wish it. Even though the military has sided with him, his credibility has been badly damaged and the nation faces the prospect of more turmoil Wednesday during planned anti-government rallies. Wiranto said the demonstrations would lead to chaos and warned that the military would deal harshly with rioters. Early today, the military presence had visibly increased near the presidential palace. More armored tanks were seen, barbed-wire roadblocks had been erected in at least two spots and .several hundred troops were being addressed by an officer near the palace. 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