A group of retired Indonesian generals who were at the forefront of the movement to oust former president Suharto have now trained their guns on his successor, B.J. Habibie.
The "Petisi 50" group of retired military officers said on Thursday that Habibie should resign immediately and be replaced by a two-year transitional government."Habibie hasn't made much progress since he came to power three months ago, either politically or economically. Therefore he must be replaced by a transitional government immediately," said retired general Ali Sadikin at a news conference.
"The transitional government will be aimed at combating the economic crisis and make necessary preparations in the lead up to the general elections," Sadikin said.
Habibie was sworn in as president on May 21, minutes after long-ruling and autocratic Suharto resigned in the midst of Indonesia's worst economic and political crisis in decades.
Habibie was then the country's vice president and one of Suharto's closest aides. But he has tried to distance himself from his predecessor's policies and has said he would hold general elections in May next year followed by presidential elections by the end of 1999.
Meanwhile, dancing and singing, several hundred soldiers left a northern Indonesian province Thursday where the military has been accused of widespread atrocities. Embittered residents rejoiced at their departure.
The partial troop withdrawal in Aceh was a conciliatory gesture from the armed forces, which is trying to atone for harsh tactics under Suharto. However, thousands of soldiers remain deployed in the province.