Indonesian leader pledges to continue corruption fight
Sunday, March 22, 2009
INDONESIA'S President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono pledged yesterday to continue the fight against corruption as he campaigned on the island of Bali for next month's legislative election.
The first directly-elected president of Indonesia said eradicating graft would top the agenda of his Democratic Party as he addressed 70,000 supporters at an election rally.
"We'll keep on fighting against corruption and catching those responsible," said the former general, dressed in his party's colour, blue, and accompanied by first lady Ani Yudhoyono.
"Do we want to go back to the era when corrupt people ruled? The answer to that is no."
Yudhoyono promised to stamp out graft when he was elected in 2004, but Indonesia remains one of the most corrupt countries in the world.
The anti-graft fight has moved it up in the rankings of Berlin-based watchdog Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index from 143rd to 126th cleanest country, on equal footing with Uganda, Libya and Ethiopia.
Indonesia, the world's third biggest democracy, will vote on April 9 for legislative elections, to be followed on July 8 by presidential polls.
The latest poll shows the centrist Democratic Party in the lead with 24.3 per cent of the vote, compared to 17.3 per cent for its nearest rival the Democratic Party of Struggle.
A prominent Indonesian political party leader said yesterday the July presidential election will be a 'grave' for many aspirants as most are in their late fifties or past 60.
"For them, it will be a question of now or never," Tifatul Sembiring, president of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), said.
He said the presidential election that would be held in July would also be the end of a political generation and appealed to all PKS cadres to continue promoting change. "Change can only be realised if young politicians are given ample opportunities to do what is best for the state.