Tear Down the Wall: Family Feud Continues at Surakarta Sunanate


APRIL 03, 2017

Jakarta. Officials from the Surakarta Sunanate in Solo, Central Java, on Sunday (02/04) dismantled a steel fence that has divided the palace complex into two in the past four years ahead of its king's coronation anniversary ceremony later this month.

The steel fence used to separate the residential area reserved for the current king, Pakubuwono XIII, and the main section of the royal palace called the Sasana Sewaka, where the ancient ceremony, "Tingalan Jumenengan," takes place.

After the previous king, Pakubuwono XII, died in 2004, the royal palace has been split into two houses: the House of Hangebehi (the officially recognized Pakubuwono XIII) and the House of Tedjowulan, his younger brother and challenger.

Since 2013, the Sunan has also been embroiled in a feud with the palace's "Dewan Adat," or traditional council, over day-to-day management of the palace — locally known as kraton.

As a result, the Sunan has not been able to attend his own coronation anniversary ceremony in the past four years.

The king recently enlisted the help of the government to end his feud with the Dewan Adat and formed his own team of supporters called Tim Lima, or Team of Five.

Tim Lima dismantled the steel fence which they claimed blocked the path from the Sunan's residence to the Sasana Sewaka and prevented him from attending the Tingalan Jumenengan.

The chairman of the traditional council, Eddy Wirahbumi, said the two feuding families are negotiating to find a compromise.

"We want to find the best solution for everyone," Eddy said at the Solo royal palace on Sunday.

The offending fence was dismantled at around 2.00 p.m. on the same day.

Solo police have set up a special unit to prevent clashes between the rivaling factions ahead of the April 22 ceremony.

Watch Indonesia Highlights at 8 p.m. tonight on the Jakarta Globe News Channel and Facebook Live to find out more about the struggle for power in the Surakarta Sunanate.