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Indonesia: Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono sworn in as first democratically elected President.



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This transcript has been prepared by a source external to the Department of the Parliamentary Library.

 

It may not have been checked against the broadcast or in any other way. Freedom from error, omissions or misunderstandings cannot be guaranteed.

 

For the purposes of quoting verbatim from a transcript, it is advisable to verify the transcript against the broadcast.

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PM

 

Wednesday 20 October 2004

Indonesia: Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono sworn in as first democratically elected President

 

MARK COLVIN: The former general and security minister Susi lo Bambang Yudhoyono has been sworn in as Indonesia's sixth president at a ceremony at the parliamentary building in Jakarta. 

 

Dr Yudhoyono is the country's first democratically elected president, but he inherits an economy in tatters, a bureaucracy rife with corruption and a country plagued by a continuing terrorism problem. 

 

Foreign Affairs Editor Peter Cave Reports from Jakarta. 

 

(sound of Indonesia's national anthem) 

 

PETER CAVE: As the strains of Indonesia's national anthem rang out across the People's Consultative Assembly, it was hard not to remember being in the same building in 1998, as it was occupied by students in an act which heralded the downfall of the dictator Suharto and the start of the process which led to the first democratic presidential elections this year, and ultimately to the landslide victory for Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. 

 

(Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono speaking) 

 

"In the name of Allah," he says, "I swear I will meet my obligations as President of the Republic of Indonesia as fully and as justly as possible." 

 

(Hidayat Nur Wahid speaking, clapping) 

 

The Chairman of the Consultative Assembly, Hidayat Nur Wahid, made a vote of thanks to the outgoing president, Megawati Sukarnoputri, for conducting the democratic elections which lost her her job. 

 

Megawati boycotted the ceremony. She's not yet conceded defeat or congratulated her successor, but has cleaned out her office at the presidential palace, where President Yudhoyono will make his first major speech outlining his vision for Indonesia later tonight. 

 

Before he can begin work on that vision, though, he will have to name a cabinet, and here he's caught in something of a cleft stick - having to choose between ministers from the parties who helped elect him and technocrats with the skills and abilities to tackle the country's multitude of problems. 

 

He's been interviewing potential candidates and is expected to announce the cabinet tonight, or within a few days. He's already indicated that his goal is to have 60 per cent of experts in their field and 40 per cent political appointments. 

 

Without elaborating, he told reporters that many people would not be happy with his choices. 

 

A handful of regional leaders attended the inauguration, including Prime Minister John Howard, the prime ministers of East Timor, Malaysia and Singapore, and the Sultan of Brunei. 

 

Mr Howard found himself seated between East Timor and Brunei. At a brief audience with foreign leaders after the inauguration, Mr Howard was chosen to speak on their behalf. He offered the new president their best wishes for the job ahead and noted that this was an important moment in Indonesian history. 

 

Mr Howard left for home immediately after the ceremony, without speaking to waiting reporters, but last night he said that Dr Yudhoyono was certainly an impressive man. 

 

JOHN HOWARD: I think the relationship will strengthen under his leadership. I believe that he has a store of goodwill towards Australia, as we do towards Indonesia. 

 

PETER CAVE: With 60 per cent of the vote and enormous goodwill at home and in the region, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is well-placed to tackle Indonesia's problems. Just how he'll do that should become evident when he announces his cabinet. With pro and anti World Bank candidates vying for places, his choices should indicate how serious he is about tackling the most immediate problem of the tattered economy that he's inherited. 

 

This is Peter Cave in Jakarta for PM .