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Yudhoyono Begins Second Term as Indonesian President


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Under tight security Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was sworn in for a second five-year term of office. President Yudhoyono named prosperity, justice and democracy as his top domestic priorities and promoting peace and tolerance as the role Indonesia will play on the international stage.

At the National Assembly in Jakarta, with his hand on the Koran, Islam's holy book, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono took the oath of office.

He says he swears by Allah to fulfill the duties of President of the Republic of Indonesia to the best of his capabilities and in the fairest way possible.

About 20,000 police backed by armored vehicles provided security for the inauguration. After the ceremony he spoke before members of parliament. The heads of state of Australia, Brunei, East Timor, Malaysia and Singapore were in the audience, as well as senior officials from around the world.

The 60-year-old leader first won the presidency in 2004, in the country's first direct presidential election.

He won again in July to become the first Indonesian leader to be democratically re-elected.

President Yudhoyono says the consecutive peaceful elections in this mainly Muslim country demonstrate the growing strength and stability of its democracy.

He says in the middle of political stumbles in other parts of the world, Indonesia still sits straight and strong as a democratic country.

The president also made a point to thank his rivals for the presidency for expanding democratic life in the country.

The president said the country faced many complex challenges and crises in the past 10 years, from devastating natural disasters to long-standing problems of corruption and poverty. And he cautioned that the world economy, while improving, is not yet stable.

President Yudhoyono spoke in broad terms about his plans for the next 100 days and beyond.

"Prosperity, democracy, and justice," he said.

He says the keys to facing the challenges ahead are determination to take on the difficult problems, unity to work together, and maintaining the Indonesian values of pluralism and moderation.

On the international front the president says Indonesia will engage in diplomatic efforts to promote democracy and development and to address issues such as climate change.

Political commentator Wimar Witoelar says President Yudohonyo's commitment to international engagement will strengthen ties to the United States and improve Indonesia's standing in the world.

"It signifies an opportune moment where what is happening in Indonesia and what is happening in America could build very, very strong bridges in the direction of climate change, democracy, pluralism and, you know, world peace in general," Witoelar said. "I am just so excited because we seem like we are on the verge of becoming a mature nation among the other nations of the world."

President Yudhoyono's next major task is to announce his new cabinet. The new executive branch is expected to be a broad coalition of secular and Islamic parties, combining party-political appointees with trusted technocrats in key economic seats.