Accessibility links

Indonesians Await Presidential Action - 2004-10-05


A day after Indonesia's Electoral Commission announced that presidential challenger Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is to be the country's new leader, the transition process has slowed to a crawl because the incumbent has not formally accepted defeat. Mr. Yudhoyono says he will not start picking up the reins of power until he is given the green light.

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono won 61 percent of the vote in last month's elections and is due to take power in two weeks. The country is waiting to see who he will appoint to such all-important cabinet positions as attorney general, but the process is being held up because the incumbent, President Megawati Sukarnoputri, has declined to concede formally that she lost. Tuesday was Army Day in Indonesia, and Mrs. Megawati addressed the troops on parade in south Jakarta. In front of a crowd that included her successor, she hinted at concession without going all the way.

She said that whoever is chosen in a democratic election should be accepted by everyone, because such an election is a victory for everyone.

Mr. Yudhoyono had scheduled a press conference for Monday evening after the announcement of his victory, but decided not to speak when it became clear that Mrs. Megawati would not make a statement.

His camp gave no immediate indication whether it would take her Tuesday comments as the signal it needs to go full speed ahead towards forming a new administration.

Indonesia has held both parliamentary and presidential elections this year, and analysts say that both were clear votes for change. Mr. Yudhoyono faces pressing problems, and perhaps unrealistically high hopes from the electorate.

His promise to tackle the country's endemic corruption was popular with the voters, and one of his most closely-watched appointments will be that of attorney general. But that will just be one among 32 cabinet selections he must make.

In the absence of firm statements from Mr. Yudhoyono's camp, there has been widespread media speculation that he has already chosen some of people to fill the cabinet posts.

Some analysts say the delay reflects badly on Mr. Yudhoyono. The retired general has a reputation for indecisiveness and they say his failure to take the reins of leadership leaves the country in limbo and sets a bad precedent for the future.

XS
SM
MD
LG