A Vote for Stability

In one local poll this week, the majority (52.38 percent) of respondents said they would vote for Megawati Sukarnoputri and her running mate Prabowo in the presidential election on July 8. That’s not surprising, given the former president’s Balinese lineage and the popularity of her party here. But it’s an unclear and unrealistic picture.

Incumbent President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and newly ex-central bank chief Boediono came in second, at 42.86 percent, while the third of the candidature trio, incumbent Vice President Yusuf Kalla and former military chief Wiranto hardly registered, at just over 4 percent.

Most Indonesians, we surmise, want results-based politics and governance, two aspects of life in this country that at the beginning of the 1990s were exceedingly lacking, as a series of leaders bumbled in and fumbled out of Istana Negara.

Under Megawati, daughter of the nation’s founding father, silence and stagnation ruled. Hit by a string of terrorist attacks, including on this island, during her reign, Megawati’s perceived ineptitude led to her able-minded chief security minister becoming the current president. It is likely he will retain the position as polls come around again – making history as Indonesia’s first directly re-elected leader.

As regional economies falter and crumble during the financial downswing, Indonesia’s has remained strong; as our neighbours dive headlong into political unrest that has tourists and investors fleeing, Indonesia remains stable; and as security elsewhere deteriorates, within these borders there is relative control.

It is for these reasons that many Indonesians today are proud to call Yudhoyono their president, and Balinese allegiances to Megawati aside, will vote him back into office with a respected economist by his side.

To say there is a mountain of work ahead is a vast understatement. There continue to be deplorable aberrations in the judiciary and the wider legal system itself; yawning corruption is as much a commonplace as ever; bureaucracy at all levels is a disheartening disgrace.

However, we believe that President Yudhoyono, in the midst of entrenched and vested interests that are holdovers from the Suharto era, has made an encouraging start, and that is why The Bali Times endorses the Yudhoyono-Boediono ticket in the interests of advancing this great nation.

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