Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono President of Indonesia, 100 Most Influential in The World


Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is an Indonesian politician and retired Army general officer who has been President of Indonesia since 2004. Yudhoyono won the 2004 presidential election, defeating incumbent President Megawati Sukarnoputri. Widely known in Indonesia by his initials “SBY”, he was sworn into office on 20 October 2004, together with Jusuf Kalla as Vice President. He ran for re-election in 2009 with Boediono as his running mate, and won with an outright majority of the votes in the first round of balloting; he was sworn in for a second term on 20 October 2009. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono become the one of 100 most influential figures in 2009 made by Time magazine. According to the magazine’s official site, President Yudhoyono included to the category of “Leaders & Revolutionaries”.

Time Magazine also show opinion from Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysia former deputy prime minister who is now an opposition leader in Malaysia. According to Anwar, “since his winning in the first direct election in 2004, Yudhoyono has managed to keep the nation afloat, even during the current global recession. However, significant challenges lie ahead. Poverty remains pervasive in Indonesia, and the government must press onward with improvements to the country’s ailing infrastructure. Businesses are confronted with a bewildering array of regulations, and the country pays a heavy price in corruption and bribery”.Ibrahim also said that now is the perfect time for Indonesia, as the world’s most populous Muslim nation, to assume a more prominent position in Asia and throughout the Muslim world. In response to President Obama’s warm overtures to Muslim countries for a new phase in relations with the U.S., Yudhoyono can take the lead and chart a new course for the region.

For the “Leaders And Revolutionaries” Category, Time chose 20 figures from all over the world. President Yudhoyono signed in ranked ninth. Besides Yudhoyono, among others Edward Kennedy, Gordon Brown, Christine Lagarde, Thomas Dart, Avigdor Lieberman, Joaquin Guzman, Nouri al-Maliki, and Hillary Clinton

Road to Presidency

 

By 2003 there was a gathering momentum behind the possibility of Yudhoyono being a presidential candidate. The United Democratic Nationhood Party (PPDK) was the first to bring up the subject of nomination. In September 2003, Yudhoyono’s own party began to make preparations in case Yudhoyono was willing to accept a presidential nomination. The Democratic Party then initiated a publicity campaign to promote Yudhoyono as a candidate. For his part, Yudhoyono was not responsive both to PPDK or the Democratic Party’s maneuverings to nominate him and continued his duties as Minister. PPDK was disappointed in Yudhoyono’s reaction and the Democratic Party continued to wait for Yudhoyono to resign his position as was expected of all presidential candidates apart from the incumbent President and Vice President.

 

The turning point came on 1 March 2004, when Yudhoyono’s secretary, Sudi Silalahi announced to the media that for the last six months, Yudhoyono had been excluded from policy decision-making in the field of politics and security.[14] On 2 March 2004, Megawati responded that she had never excluded Yudhoyono, while her husband, Taufiq Kiemas called Yudhoyono childish for complaining to the media instead of the president herself. On 8 March 2004, Yudhoyono sent a letter asking for permission to meet the president about his ministerial authority. Megawati did not respond when she received the letter, although she invited Yudhoyono along to a cabinet meeting on 11 March 2004. Yudhoyono did not attend the cabinet meeting and instead held a press conference at his office and announced his resignation from the position of Coordinating Minister of Political and security affairs. He also announced that he was ready to be nominated as a presidential candidate.

 

Yudhoyono’s popularity skyrocketed after his falling out with Megawati as he was seen by the people as the underdog. However this popularity did not translate to a victory for the Democratic Party at the 2004 legislative elections. The party won 7.5% of the votes, which was still enough to nominate Yudhoyono as a presidential candidate. Yudhoyono accepted the nomination and picked Golkar’s Jusuf Kalla as his running mate. Aside from the Democratic Party, their presidential and vice presidential candidacy was supported by the Crescent Star Party (PBB), the Reform Star Party (PBR) and the Indonesian Justice and Unity Party (PKPI).

 

Yudhoyono’s manifesto for the future of Indonesia, summarised in a book titled “Vision For Change” written by him and distributed for free during the campaign, was built on four pillars: prosperity, peace, justice and democracy. At the top of his agenda was a plan for increasing economic prosperity, aiming for economic growth of at least 7% and a revival of small and medium-sized enterprises. He also put forward policies to offer better credit lines, to cut red tape, improve labor laws and to root out corruption from the top down. He told an interviewer:

 

If we are to reduce poverty, create jobs, increase purchasing power and rebuild infrastructure, then we will need new capital. Of course, to be able to invite investment, I have to improve the climate — legal certainties, political stability, law and order, sound tax policies, customs policies, good labor management. I will improve the guarantees to encourage investors to come to Indonesia.

 

Yudhoyono’s perceived communication skills made him the front-runner throughout the election campaign, according to many opinion polls and the opinions of election commentators, ahead of the other candidates (Megawati, Wiranto, Amien Rais, and Hamzah). On 5 July 2004, Yudhoyono participated in the first round of the presidential election, coming first with 33% of the votes. However, 50% of votes were required for a new president and vice-president to be elected, and this meant Yudhoyono going into a run-off against Megawati.

 

In the run-off, Yudhoyono faced a challenge from Megawati’s Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle (PDI-P), forming a national coalition with Golkar, the PPP, Prosperous Peace Party (PDS) and the Indonesian National Party (PNI). Yudhoyono then declared that his coalition, which now received political support from the National Awakening Party (PKB), the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) and the National Mandate Party (PAN), would be the people’s coalition. On 20 September 2004, Yudhoyono participated in the run-off election, winning it with 60.87% of the vote. Yudhoyono was inaugurated as president on 20 October 2004. In February 2010, SBY was named as the political figure who had achieved The Gold Standard in Political Communications by the influential PublicAffairsAsia network and magazine.

 

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