- Discover Indonesia Online

You are currently in > Just a blog about Indonesia > Indonesia polls favor former general

Indonesia polls favor former general SIANTAR - The strains of a hearty tenor filtered out from behind the closed door of hotel room 103. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the front-runner in Indonesia's presidential race, was rehearsing a tune he would sing that morning to voters in this highland town in western Indonesia. "I know you love me, so you will choose me," the thickset former general could be heard crooning in the local Batak dialect, practicing the lyrics he learned minutes earlier, just as he has been practicing for the country's top job for the last several years.
In an interview, the man popularly known by his initials, SBY, chortled when a reporter asked about his singing. Like many Indonesians and another presidential rival, he said he just likes to sing. He always has, including when he played bass guitar in a high school band. Soon, if the polls are correct, he could be facing a larger audience. According to several reputable national opinion surveys, the retired Army general and former cabinet minister in the government of President Megawati Sukarnoputri has far outpaced his former boss in the running for the country's first direct presidential election.
Yudhoyono, who was Megawati's coordinating minister for security and politics, is surging in the polls at a time when Indonesians, after six years of a turbulent transition to democracy, are yearning for law and order, and for more and better jobs. Critics say he is too cautious and indecisive. But Yudhoyono says he is thorough, intent on hearing all sides of an issue.
So commanding is his lead over his four rivals that he has dared to hope for an outright majority of votes on July 5. If he falls short, a run-off between the top two choices is slated for September. If elected, Yudhoyono said his goal is to put Indonesia's "house back in order" after the 1998 ouster of President Suharto, which was followed by rising separatist and militant activity and a failure to establish effective law enforcement and judicial integrity.
His broad agenda, he added, is to maintain the unity and security of Indonesia, a diverse nation with a Muslim majority, and to revive an economy not growing fast enough to ease poverty and unable to attract significant foreign investment. Memories of Suharto's military-backed authoritarian regime are fresh among Indonesians. Some warn about a reversal of democratic gains, with two former generals, Yudhoyono and former military commander in chief Gen. Wiranto, in the race.
Even some friends worry that Yudhoyono will be swayed by conservative advisers and will lack the boldness to carry out military reforms he helped initiate. In 1998-99, he led a group of generals in writing a reform blueprint that stressed depoliticizing the military. The plan, only partially accomplished, included a proposal to end the military "dual function," a practice dating to 1958 in which, for instance, active duty military officers also held civilian government positions.
The military has given up some of its political role, for example, relinquishing its formerly guaranteed bloc of seats in parliament. But a key component, putting the armed forces under effective civilian control, has not been realized. Yudhoyono dismissed fears that he would stray from the path of reform. "I think it is going a little bit too far to connect my candidacy with a return of militarism," he said. If he is elected, he said, it would be "by the people, democratically."
One important task, Yudhoyono said, would be to fight corruption. He says he would invite all government ministers to sign an anti-corruption contract, personally checking on officials' accountability and firing violators. "Words are proven by deeds," he said, an allusion to the inability of Megawati, who is seeking a full five-year term, to eliminate corruption despite promises to do so since she took over the presidency in 2001.
Yudhoyono, 54, the son of an Army officer, was relaxed and engaged during the interview. He wore a blue button-down shirt and a black safari jacket, and spoke fluent English, polished during several study tours in the United States. He founded the Democrat Party in 1991, which became a vehicle for his prospective candidacy. Not too long ago, he was touted mainly as a vice presidential possibility. But since the 2002 Bali bombing, his profile has gradually sharpened as he has spoken out to condemn terrorism and reassure the public that security will be enhanced, while Megawati has remained largely silent.
In March, citing frustration with his increasing marginalization by Megawati, who he said was excluding him from key cabinet meetings, he resigned. An offhand comment by Megawati's husband that Yudhoyono was being "childish" won him instant sympathy from the public. He has led the five presidential candidates in opinion polls ever since. Opinion surveys released this month showed Yudhoyono had the support of more than 40 percent of voters, far ahead of Megawati, leader of the Indonesian Democratic Party for Struggle (PDI-P) and Wiranto, the nominee of the former Suharto party Golkar. Megawati and Wiranto are in a close race for second.
Yudhoyono, who is Muslim but like most Indonesians prefers that the country's laws be civil, said that Indonesia was in the process of "democratizing its policies," by strengthening human rights, rule of law and respect for the environment. "I do hope that the U.S. will maintain its cooperation" in pushing ahead those reforms, he said. He noted that in the past, the two countries enjoyed full military relations and many Indonesian military officers continued their training in the United States. He completed Army Ranger and advanced infantry courses at Fort Benning, Ga. in 1976 and in1982-83.
In the battle against terrorism, he said that the U.S. government should grant Indonesia direct access to the captured Indonesian al Qaeda militant, Hambali, so Indonesians can better prosecute militants arrested at home. Yudhoyono is seen as largely untainted by scandal. But an investigation has been reopened into a violent putdown of a July 1996 protest at the Jakarta headquarters of the then-opposition Indonesian Democratic Party, now PDI-P . Five students were killed. Yudhoyono was chief of staff -- second in charge at the Jakarta military command at the time, which was assigned to deal with the protesters. Two security officials involved in the investigation said so far, there was insufficient evidence to charge Yudhoyono in connection with the case.
At present, he is not on the list of suspects, according to the attorney general's office. Yudhoyono declined to discuss the matter, but said that it should be investigated in "a fair and open legal process." On Saturday, he traveled to Medan, a provincial capital in western Indonesia and a PDI-P stronghold in 1999. About 5,000 people jammed a pavilion under a scorching sun. Two weeks earlier, Megawati drew an audience half the size.
Yudhoyono appealed for unity, democracy and human rights. "One for all, all for one!" he said. And then, his speech finished, he offered his Batak love song, drawing cheers and a few tears. That night, back in Jakarta, he and Wiranto appeared on a wildly popular Indonesian version of American Idol. Clad in a black leather jacket, he sang a well-known contemporary ballad. He bobbled a few notes, but thousands of young people, familiar with the words, sang along. His performance rocked the house. "For a singer armed only with courage," a judge on the panel commented, "you made a good decision to sing a popular song."

Posted in Elections @ 28 June 2004 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink

There are no reactions on this blog entry yet. Be the first one to give a reaction here!

Log in to write a reaction

You are not logged in to the website. You have to be logged in to write a reaction on this blog entry.

· If you already have an account, please login.
· If you have lost your password, please retrieve it.
· If you don't have an account yet, you can create one.

Add this blog entry to your email, your own blog, MySpace, Facebook, or whatsoever via AddThis:
Bookmark and Share

e-mail updates for this blog article

Login if you want to receive emails for reactions on this blog entry. You will receive an update as soon as a reaction on this blog entry is posted.

Your website for tickets in Indonesia!
Looking for e-tickets for flights in Indonesia? Here's your solution! Order your e-tickets at
· 2015, 28 entries
· 2014, 591 entries
· 2013, 750 entries
· 2012, 1061 entries
· 2011, 792 entries
· 2010, 644 entries
· 2009, 916 entries
· 2008, 504 entries
· 2007, 725 entries
· 2006, 1014 entries
· 2005, 723 entries
· 2004, 558 entries
· 2003, 525 entries
· 2002, 375 entries
· 2001, 162 entries
· gigolo
· jakarta
· blogger
Automatically generated every hour
· General (1205 entries)
· Economy (643 entries)
· Politics (574 entries)
· Accidents (561 entries)
· Terrorism (541 entries)
· Earthquake (539 entries)
· Volcanoes (387 entries)
· Crime (357 entries)
· Corruption (349 entries)
· Flooding (278 entries)
· Elections (276 entries)
· Travel (268 entries)
· Bird Flu (254 entries)
· Religion (242 entries)
· Tourism (239 entries)
· Oddly enough ... (219 entries)
· Violence (198 entries)
· Drugs (196 entries)
· Health (192 entries)
· Aceh conflict (191 entries)
· Environment (185 entries)
· Weather (171 entries)
· Military (168 entries)
· Protests (157 entries)
· Culture (106 entries)
· Garuda Indonesia (91 entries)
· C. Sulawesi conflict (86 entries)
· Human rights (82 entries)
· Forest fires (78 entries)
· Sidoarjo mudflow (71 entries)
· Power supply (64 entries)
· Ramadan (63 entries)
· PT Freeport (55 entries)
· Picture guess (48 entries)
· Maluku conflict (47 entries)
· History (37 entries)
· Dengue Fever (37 entries)
· Infrastructure (36 entries)
· Polio (35 entries)
· Mexican flu (35 entries)
· Website (25 entries)
· Media (22 entries)
· Nuclear power (21 entries)
· Sports (20 entries)
· Sexy (16 entries)
· SARS (15 entries)
· Nightlife (10 entries)
· Others (5 entries)
· Lippo Cikarang (5 entries)
· Close smallest categories
EUR-IDR: 16,590 · 16,620  The Rupiah rate declined since yesterday
@ 17 May 2018 18:12 CET
JPY-IDR: 126.83 · 126.95  The Rupiah rate improved since yesterday
@ 17 May 2018 21:58 CET
MYR-IDR: 3,545 · 3,549  The Rupiah rate declined since yesterday
@ 15 May 2018 08:42 CET
SGD-IDR: 10,479 · 10,501  The Rupiah rate declined since yesterday
@ 07 May 2018 07:48 CET
THB-IDR: 439.14 · 439.41  The Rupiah rate declined since yesterday
@ 16 May 2018 09:18 CET
USD-IDR: 14,097 · 14,157  The Rupiah rate declined since yesterday
@ 17 May 2018 00:46 CET
Go to 'exchange rates' 
·  At 10 November 2020 16:59 AdvocaatHulp reacted on Three more bodies of AirAsia victims to Surabaya hospital
·  At 14 July 2020 08:32 newnight reacted on Three more bodies of AirAsia victims to Surabaya hospital
·  At 20 September 2018 06:54 erik12 reacted on Fuel prices lowered, again
·  At 19 October 2015 17:17 imambudianto5 reacted on Bank Indonesia maintains benchmark interest rate at 7.75%
·  At 04 March 2015 19:18 merdekaSah reacted on Alleged terrorists shot dead three villagers in Poso
·  At 04 March 2015 13:11 Yogya-Bali reacted on Alleged terrorists shot dead three villagers in Poso
·  At 26 February 2015 13:02 Irena reacted on Sexy, a young woman with candy
·  At 08 May 2014 09:51 jstar reacted on No alcohol should be sold in warung
·  At 01 May 2014 10:07 jstar reacted on Indonesia to be among the top 10 peacekeeping contributors
·  At 27 March 2014 05:50 harlys reacted on PPP leader voices concern over Islamic parties' future
·  At 10 March 2014 06:11 Yogya-Bali reacted on Sriwijaya Air leaves behind 200 passengers at airport
·  At 09 March 2014 00:11 Yerun reacted on Sriwijaya Air leaves behind 200 passengers at airport
·  At 08 March 2014 20:33 nicknick reacted on Sriwijaya Air leaves behind 200 passengers at airport
·  At 18 February 2014 04:17 Yerun reacted on Ash from Mount Kelud eruption spreads over all of Java
·  At 16 February 2014 05:41 Amed East Bali reacted on Ash from Mount Kelud eruption spreads over all of Java
·  At 14 February 2014 22:27 Anne Mieke reacted on Asylum seekers in Medan wish to be sent to Australia
·  At 14 February 2014 22:22 beritaislam reacted on Asylum seekers in Medan wish to be sent to Australia
·  At 16 January 2014 15:37 Anne Mieke reacted on Landslides cut off Tomohon-Manado road
·  At 16 January 2014 15:21 Yerun reacted on Landslides cut off Tomohon-Manado road
·  At 16 January 2014 15:05 Anne Mieke reacted on Landslides cut off Tomohon-Manado road
Go to 'forum topics' 

Created by · feedback & contact · © 2000-2021
Other websites by · · ·

Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional 144,705,280 pageviews Discover Indonesia Online at