High blood pressure and circulatory problems have left him nearly blind and mostly bedridden, but Abdurrahman Wahid--or Gus Dur, as he is widely known--is one of the most powerful people in Indonesia. His moderate Nahdlatul Ulama Islamic organization claims 20 million members and a total of 40 million followers. Together with his ally Megawati, Gus Dur could probably unseat Habibie any time, though they're supporting him for now. From his bed at his South Jakarta home, Gus Dur spoke last week with reporter David Liebhold. Excerpts from the interview:On last week's special session of the People's Consultative Assembly:
The students reject the meeting because they think it's useless. It is dominated by the Habibie group within the government. They feel that it's not a democratic thing.On the demand that Habibie step down:
It's not realistic at all, and I don't want to be a part of it. Both of us [Gus Dur and Megawati] realize that the presidency is a long-term problem. We have to be careful not to be overtaken by emotion.On how long Habibie can remain President:
I didn't like it from the beginning, the idea of Habibie as President. He doesn't know politics. That means he has been led. There are two possibilities--that General Wiranto will take over the presidency or that Habibie will remain.On the upcoming election's legitimacy:
I believe it will be free and fair. Other countries won't assist us if it isn't. Also, the people won't work for the betterment of the situation if they are not allowed to have a fair election. We expect the election to be monitored by 30,000 people, including representatives from international and regional organizations. It will be impossible to have a sham election without being detected.On the Muslim militia groups brought in to guard the Consultative Assembly:
Basically they are Golkar people. Golkar is working in coordination with militant Islamic groups. It's anti-democratic. It gives undue power to militant Islamic groups. I think it will be regretted by everybody in the near future. It will go out of control, by sharpening the political, economic and religious differences in society.On his support for a Megawati presidency:
If I still can't see [he plans to undergo eye surgery in the next few months], I will back her all the way. If something happens to Megawati, then I'll run. If I run, I will win.