Muslim Wire

Yudhoyono takes oath to begin 2nd term as Indonesian president+

Posted in Politics by muslimwire on October 20, 2009

JAKARTA, Oct. 20 (AP) – (Kyodo)—Former general and incumbent Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono took the oath Tuesday to begin his second term as the country’s president.

In a brief induction ceremony before the People’s Consultative Assembly, Yudhoyono, 60, was sworn with the Quran being held above his head by a Muslim cleric.

His swearing was immediately followed with the inauguration of Vice President Boediono.

Among attendants at the ceremony were Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, East Timorese President Jose Ramos-Horta and special envoys from Japan and the United States.

Yudhoyono was reelected in the direct presidential election in July for another five-year term.

In 2004, he became the first Indonesian president directly elected by the people following the collapse of President Suharto in 1998 after 32 years of iron-fisted rule.

Following Suharto’s fall, three civilian presidents ruled the country before Yudhoyono, but they were elected by the parliament.

Yudhoyono is expected to announce his Cabinet on Wednesday and the new ministers will be sworn in Thursday morning.

On Friday, he is expected to chair the first meeting of the new Cabinet.

Supported by his Democrat Party, once Suharto political vehicle Golkar and other smaller parties that together control 423 of 560 seats in parliament, there is concern among the public that strong majority support will harm parliament’s ability to act as a “check and balance mechanism” on the administration.

There are also worries the new government may be less democratic.

As of Monday, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, chaired by Yudhoyono’s predecessor Megawati Sukarnoputri, and two other smaller parties expressed no intention of joining the parliamentary coalition.

Born Sept. 9, 1949 in the small town of Pacitan in East Java Province, Yudhoyono was coordinating minister for political and security affairs under Megawati and her predecessor Abdurrahman Wahid.

He has been widely liked by many Western countries as he is regarded as capable of cracking down on terrorism and corruption.

Yudhoyono’s star first began to rise when he became the armed forces territorial chief of staff in 1998 and it continued to shine when he was named Wahid’s coordinating minister for political, social and security affairs and retained the post under Megawati.

During the reform era, the military received strong criticism of its human right abuses and Yudhoyono was praised for “not blindly” defending the institution.

“The blasphemy against the military, in my view, is related to the political format of the New Order (Suharto regime) and the role of the military at that time,” he has said.

Since, public and human rights activists have closely watched him and when the public expressed hatred at the “institutional” military, Yudhoyono appeared to shine like “a pearl in the mud.”

Yudhoyono, who likes writing poems, short stories and songs, playing music, attending theater, traveling and doing martial arts, wanted to be a soldier even when he was at elementary school.

“I loved to see cadets of the military academy (in the Central Java provincial town Magelang) who looked cool and I bought a sword because I thought a soldier always brought a sword,” he said.

He entered the military academy in 1970 and was the top graduate in 1973.

He continued his military studies in the United States, taking an airborne and ranger course and an infantry officer advanced course.

The father of two sons also pursued jungle warfare training in Panama and an antitank weapons course in Belgium and Germany. He attended the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth in the United States and trained at the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg.

Yudhoyono, whose idol is his late father-in-law Gen. Sarwo Edhi Wibowo, later obtained a master’s degree in business management from Webster University in the United States and got a doctorate in agriculture from the Bogor Agricultural Institute, near Jakarta.

He has traveled on observer missions around the world, including as chief military observer in Bosnia in 1995 and 1996.

Yudhoyono’s deputy Boediono is regarded as a respected economist at home and abroad for his integrity and competence.

Born on Feb. 25, 1943 in the East Java town Blitar, he obtained his doctorate from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1979.

He was Yudhoyono’s coordinating minister of the economy from 2005 to 2008 and governor of the central bank, Bank Indonesia, from May 2008 to May 2009.

In 2007, he was listed as one of the Wharton School’s 125 Influential People and Ideas and dubbed “Indonesia’s financial rudder.”

During the Megawati administration, the university professor was appointed finance minister and is widely regarded as the person behind Indonesia’s return to macroeconomic stability following the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

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