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Political and Administrative Role

ABRI's perception of its political role in the early 1990s was that of a national institution above partisan interests and closely tied to the people, with a duty to foster conditions of order and security in which the habits of a stable and institutionalized political process could develop. Political excesses during the first two decades of the republic had, in ABRI's view, discredited party politics as a proper outlet for grass-roots expression and forced the armed forces to act as the principal guarantor of internal security and political stability. As officially expressed in 1966, the armed forces "have an interest to participate in the efforts to form and manage a government with authority, a strong and progressive government." As a consequence, the armed forces have been intertwined with the civilian side of government at every level. Military officers, active duty and retired, have served in the highest organs of policy and administration since independence (see The Structure of Government , ch. 4). As a major functional group within Golkar, the military was allotted blocs of appointive seats in both the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) and the DPR (see Legislative Bodies , ch. 4). The provision of appointed military members of the MPR and DPR was also viewed as compensation for the activeduty members of the armed forces being denied the right to vote. However, retired members were permitted to vote and most of them belonged to an association of retired officers that formed another of the functional groups within Golkar. Military officers served in civilian government posts at the provincial and district levels.

While ABRI continued to view itself as a guardian of both sociopolitical and defense matters, however, the military of the 1990s was far different from the force that fought for independence and evolved through the tumultuous political changes of the 1950s and 1960s. As a result of generational changes, a bustling national economy, and its increased self-confidence, ABRI had become a force that studied its roots as history rather than as example (see Leadership Transition , this ch.).

Data as of November 1992