The following are excerpts of the interview with sociologist Daniel Sparingga with The Jakarta Post's A. Asip Hasani on the issue of political party leadership.
Question: Those calling for public officials, most notably, President Megawati Soekarnoputri, to resign from their party leadership posts, fear abuse of power given the strong position in the executive. Your comment?
Answer: My response to this issue is ambivalent. I've observed that it is difficult, on one hand, to promote the autonomy of civil society vis-a-vis the state, while on the other hand, the political reality in this country makes it hard to resolve the problem. But the present period of transition doesn't seem to provide the luxury of enabling both areas -- the state and civil society -- to be strictly segregated.
The New Order has caused the emergence of a leadership crisis, rendering such a dual function almost unavoidable. Political parties themselves, due to our weak civil society, still rely on their central figures to boost their authority. Political parties, therefore, find it difficult to give up their leaders when they have to join... the state, particularly the executive branch of the government. The case of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) and the United Development Party (PPP) are the …