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Indonesian President Wins Mostly Praise for First 100 Days

Indonesia's president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, has marked his first 100 days in office. The former general's initial attempts at reform have been overshadowed by last month's deadly earthquake and tsunami in Asia, but he is apparently determined to deliver on his electoral promises.

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono won nearly 60 percent of the popular vote in last September's presidential election, swaying the electorate with his pledges to revive the economy, tackle corruption and address the country's long-standing security problems.

One hundred days into his four-year mandate, some of the shine is starting to wear off Mr. Yudhoyono's administration. Observers say part of the problem lies in voters' unrealistic expectations of instant solutions, but opponents also say the president has not been aggressive enough in engaging with the problems.

Kevin O'Rourke is the author of Reformasi, a book on the history of modern Indonesian politics. He gives Mr. a positive rating.

"The president met very high expectations coming into office, but he's avoided making any serious errors or mistakes," said Mr. O'Rourke. "So, after three months in office, his popularity still seems quite high. The government has fallen short of its stated objectives for the first 100 days, but, nonetheless, it is clearly achieving positive progress, and I think that bodes well for the future."

Mr. Yudhoyono's term has been dominated by the earthquake and tsunami it triggered. These left 230,000 Indonesians dead or missing and believed dead.

Foreign diplomats say they have been impressed by his handling of the disaster: he delegated the day-to-day running of the relief operation to his vice-president, Jusuf Kalla, but kept a firm hand on the overall direction himself.

The Indonesian president's supporters say he has made significant progress on most fronts. They point to a major push to get foreigners to invest in the country's infrastructure, the investigation of officials high and low for corruption, and Mr. Yudhoyono's willingness to renew peace talks with separatists from Aceh province.

Mr. Yudhoyono inherited a country plagued by problems, and most observers say it was unrealistic to expect substantial progress in just 100 days. But they say he has given a clear signal of his intention to press ahead with reforms, and they expect steady progress in the coming months.