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Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Five Facts on Indonesian President Yudhoyono

JAKARTA - Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is favourite to win a second term in office in July, helped by the resilient performance of Southeast Asia's largest economy during the global crisis.The poll line-up was finalised after a deadline to register expired on Saturday and Yudhoyono, whose running mate is central bank governor Boediono, faces a challenge from his vice president, Jusuf Kalla, and former President Megawati Sukarnoputri.Here are five facts about Yudhoyono.- Yudhoyono, 59, was born in Pacitan, East Java. He was brought up in a devout Muslim household and his father was a soldier who encouraged his military ambitions. He graduated top of class in 1973 at the military academy. The former general went on to serve in the army for 27 years under former strongman President Suharto. While contemporaries suffered from charges of human rights violations, Yudhoyono was widely seen as clean.
- In addition to his military experience, Yudhoyono has a strong academic background and completed a masters in management in the United States in 1991. He also has a doctorate in agricultural economics, and has authored a number of books.
- Despite climbing up the military ladder, his public prominence came only after Suharto was pressured from office in 1998. He became oil minister and as security minister under former President Megawati was credited with tackling the threat posed by militant group Jemaah Islamiah (JI). In 2004, he ran against Megawati in Indonesia's first direct elections for president -- and won, with just over 60 percent of the vote. He is now Indonesia's longest-serving president since the ouster of Suharto, and has presided over one of its best economic performances.
- His well-known penchant for a deliberate, cautious and slow approach -- others call it indecisiveness -- has been criticised and some say he often relied too much on his vice president, Kalla, to make tough decisions in his first term. But others argue it is part of his style to let his senior people be in front on policy, but when the crunch comes and his active support is critical, as in selling a 2005 peace deal in Aceh to the public and parliament, he gives it.
- He has pressed hard on corruption and during his term the anti-corruption commission has arrested some high-profile officials. Although graft remains a big problem, the progress under his administration has meant the issue has barely been brought up by his opponents. His government also reached an important peace agreement in troubled Aceh province, on the tip of Sumatra, as well as in Poso, Central Sulawesi. Yudhoyono is well ahead of his rivals in the opinion polls with 67 percent saying they would vote for him as president, against 12 percent for Megawati and 2 percent for Kalla in a recent poll.(Reuters)(//jri)

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