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Yudhoyono slams foreign funding rumour JAKARTA - Indonesian presidential frontrunner Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono rejected on Tuesday rumours he and his party have received foreign funding. Ex-general Yudhoyono, who topped the July first-round presidential vote with 33.6 percent in a field of five, faces incumbent President Megawati Sukarnoputri in a Sept. 20 run-off after failing to win a clear majority. As he fended off accusations of foreign backing Yudhoyono's campaign was boosted by further defections from the powerful Golkar party, a partner in Megawati's coalition.
``Accusations against me and my Democrat party of receiving foreign funding around $50 million have prompted the circulation of pamphlets saying `Don't vote for SBY because he is funded by the US' I assure you that it's a big zero,'' Yudhoyono told reporters after a mandatory visit to the anti-graft commission. ``There has been no aid from abroad like what they accused coming from the US ... I can account for my campaign funds,'' he said after declaring to the anti-graft commission that his personal wealth this year was at 4.5 billion rupiah ($482,300).
Yudhoyono's years of training at army bases in the United States, where he also earned a master's degree in management, his fluent English and good rapport with diplomats have sparked a whispering campaign that he is a Western lackey. Yudhoyono's involvement in Indonesia's war on terror while he was still Megawati's chief security minister, has also prompted detractors to label him an enemy of Islam, his own religion and that of 85 percent of Indonesia's people. Yudhoyono urged a stop to rumour-mongering.
``I come out of my house and go to the streets of Jakarta and find pamphlets saying I'm the enemy of the people. This kind of character assassination is the one that is confusing the people,'' said Yudhoyono who lives in a suburb south of the capital. ``I really hope we can compete in this election in a positive manner. The people should listen to messages of how to solve the problems of unemployment, education and economy.''
Political manoeuvering ahead of the Sep. 20 run-off continued on Tuesday as more rebels from the powerful Golkar party gave Yudhoyono their backing in a split from Golkar's official Nationhood Coalition with Megawati's Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle (PDI-P). Another group of Golkar rebels broke with the coalition to back Yudhoyono on Monday.
``We concluded that to improve the people's condition, the current government must be replaced. So, this stance is consistent to what Golkar has set from the beginning,'' said rebel Fahmi Idris, one of Golkar's 15 deputy chairmen and a former labour minister. ``Moreover, Jusuf Kalla is a Golkar cadre who must be backed,'' he told reporters, referring to Yudhoyono's runnning mate whose faction in Golkar is strong but at odds with party chief Akbar Tandjung, the mouthpiece of Megawati's Nationhood Coalition.
The Nationhood Coalition ties the three biggest parties in the next parliament - Golkar, PDI-P, and the Muslim-oriented United Development Party - and a few minor parties in a group that accounts for 60 percent of the 550-seat house. Yudhoyono's Democrat Party, the fourth strongest party in the parliament with 56 seats, has received backing from three smaller parties which only offer another 57 seats.
Analysts differ on the effect of the coalitions. Some think the organisational clout of the older and bigger parties backing Megawati may help her overtake Yudhoyono, who leads in the polls. Others say voters are increasingly inclined to vote independently of party affiliation, and that the lengths Megawati went to build her coalition have weakened her support among reform-minded voters. Whoever wins the top job in the world's most populous Muslim nation will face challenges ranging from separatism and Islamic militancy to an economy dogged by high unemployment rate and corruption.



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






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