JAKARTA, Indonesia – Indonesian dictator Suharto’s youngest son — who was convicted of ordering the assassination of a supreme court judge – will run for a seat in parliament, his political party said Friday.
Tommy Suharto, 56, wants to represent the eastern province of Papua, a region annexed by his father in the late 60’s following a UN-backed referendum widely criticized as a sham.
Papua, on the western half of New Guinea island, has since grappled with an insurgency aimed at winning independence from Jakarta.
Suharto’s son will run in the April polls under his Berkarya Party, said a senior party official, who added that Papuans themselves called for him to run for office.
“That’s the request of the people there,” Badaruddin Andi Picunang told AFP.
“Mr. Suharto (Tommy Suharto’s father) liberated Papua. Mr. Tommy loves Papua and he wants to represent the people.”
Picunang dismissed suggestions that some in Papua are not fans of Tommy Suharto or his late father’s annexation of the region.
“There will always be positive and negative views, but we’re just looking at the positive,” he said.
Tommy Suharto, who had been known as a playboy with a taste for flashy cars, served just 4 years of a 15-year prison term for hiring hitmen to murder a judge who had sentenced him to jail for corruption. He was released in 2006.
His political Party, formed in 2016, has at least one other member who is a convicted murderer.
The late dictator’s 6 children allegedly amassed fortunes by enjoying privileged access to lucrative business deals during Suharto’s three-decade rule, which was marked by massive corruption. He was toppled in 1998 during the Asian financial crisis. – Rappler.com