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Monday, 23 July, 2001, 02:32 GMT 03:32 UK
Wahid faces fast track dismissal
APC on the streets of Jakarta
The army is backing parliament against Wahid
The chairman of the Indonesian parliament has said that the impeachment process against President Abdurrahman Wahid will be speeded up, voting the president out of office in a matter of hours.

The president's move is a very serious violation of the constitution - he must not only be accountable to the assembly but also to the entire Indonesian people

Amien Rais
Parliament chairman
Amien Rais said that he expected Vice-President Megawati Sukarnoputri to be sworn in by lunchtime local time.

The parliamentary hearing now under way has heard a Supreme Court ruling that Mr Wahid's declaration of a state of emergency on Sunday was illegal.

Mr Wahid has been fighting for his political life, but despite considerable popular support in parts of the country he has failed to obtain the vital backing of the police and military.

MPs almost unanimously voted to reject the state of emergency, with all 38 members of the police and military faction in parliament joining the no vote of 599 of the 601 members.

The president had declared a state of emergency and suspended parliament just hours before the impeachment session began.

The country's security minister resigned, and Jakarta's police chief ordered his men to guard the parliament building and ensure that the hearing could go ahead.


Mr Rais told parliament that the president would now be judged by the country as a whole.

President Abdurrahman Wahid
Wahid is facing his last few hours in office
"The president's move is a very serious violation of the constitution. He must not only be accountable to the assembly but also to the entire Indonesian people," he said.

Megawati arrived at the heavily guarded parliament building just minutes before the hearing began, and was warmly applauded as she took a seat at the front of the chamber.

Live on TV

Mr Wahid went on television in the early hours of Monday morning to declare the state of emergency.

Megawati Sukarnoputri
Megawati looks set to move to the top job
He also said he intended to establish a body to oversee new elections within a year, and he suspended the Golkar party.

Golkar was formerly provided the political power base of ex-President Suharto and become a major force in the campaign to oust Mr Wahid.

The president said that the police and armed forces "have the obligation to stave off the special session that is to be held [on Monday] morning because there should not be any rival governments".

Mr Wahid had repeatedly warned that the giant country could break apart if parliament tries to remove him from office.

There were two bomb attacks at churches in Jakarta on Sunday, which left 60 injured, but so far there have been no reports of violence or protests since the parliamentary session began.

Leader in waiting

Megawati has long been thought likely to take over if the president is dismissed by parliament.

She leads Indonesia's largest political party, and is the daughter of the country's founding leader and former President, Sukarno, who was himself impeached by parliament amid political turmoil in 1966.

Soldiers in Jakarta
The military appear to have run out of patience with Wahid

Parliament elected Mr Wahid in October 1999 as Indonesia's first democratic leader in more than four decades.

But relations soon deteriorated as his opponents accused him of failing to tackle an economic crisis or resolve secessionist conflicts in several provinces of Indonesia.

Moves to remove him from office began last year when he was linked to two corruption scandals, although police and prosecutors have cleared him of any wrongdoing.

The BBC's Richard Galpin
"Mr Wahid (is) utterly isolated, his fate now seems inevitable"
Indonesian opposition MP, Alvin Lie
"It's very clear that the president does not have the power to suspend parliament"
Indonesia analyst, Professor Michael Hitchcock
"Wahid can be quite easily side-stepped while remaining in the palace"
The BBC's Peter Hiett
looks at Megawati Sukarnoputri's life and political career to date
See also:

20 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
Wahid appoints new police chief
16 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
Wahid faces early impeachment
13 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
Armed police defy Wahid
12 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
Police feud symbolic of chaos
31 May 01 | Asia-Pacific
Analysis: Indonesia's power vacuum
30 May 01 | Asia-Pacific
Analysis: Testing Indonesia's democracy
21 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
Indonesia's political turmoil
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