‘Yudhoyono should resign from Democratic Party’
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President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s call for his ministers to resign their posts if they are preoccupied with preparing the 2014 election rings hollow, as he himself is active as chairman of the Democratic Party’s board of patrons.
Many have said that his call to ministers was part of his public relations campaign.
“President Yudhoyono warning against ministers whose political party activities take precedence over their roles as government officials means little considering he still serves as the chief patron of his Democratic Party. He contradicts his own statement,” University of Indonesia’s political analyst Iberamsjah said on Sunday.
Iberamsjah called on Yudhoyono to set an example by resigning from the Democratic Party.
“It would have been more meaningful if the President had resigned from his position in his party before making the statement. It is now only seen as a public relations campaign to improve his standing,” he said.
In his speech prior to a Cabinet meeting at the presidential office late last week, Yudhoyono suggested that ministers who were too busy with their political campaigning ahead of the 2014 election should resign.
The President also warned his aides against conspiring to abuse the state budget. Yudhoyono said that ministers must share the blame if one of their subordinates should be arrested for graft.
Of Yudhoyono’s 34 ministers, 18 are from political parties including three party chairmen, Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali of the United Development Party (PPP), Coordinating Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa of the National Mandate Party (PAN) and Manpower and Transmigration Minister Mohaimin Iskandar of the National Awakening Party (PKB).
Hatta is the only minister who makes no effort to conceal his presidential ambition.
Mohaimin said that he was not the target for Yudhoyono’s statement.
“But I can understand if ministers are expected to only focus on works in the government,” he said.
Suryadharma also shrugged off the suggestion that he was singled out by Yudhoyono.
“There’s nothing unusual about the President’s statement. It was a message that he has to get across,” Suryadharma said.
Tjahjo Kumolo, secretary general the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), said Yudhoyono’s statement in fact pointed to a contradiction within his government.
“The President should have been aware when appointing politicians as ministers in the first place of the probable consequences,” he said.
Tjahjo said that he should have understood that politicians must work for the prosperity of their political parties.
He said that Yudhoyono’s statement reflected Yudhoyono’s efforts to pass the buck if the government fails to perform well.
Deputy secretary general of the People’s Conscience Party (Hanura), Saleh Husin, said Yudhoyono’s call would likely fall on deaf ears.
“Yudhoyono appears uncomfortable with the presence of some ministers in his cabinet and wants them to resign but he only has the courage to issue indirect statements. I think it won’t work. He’s made similar statements in the past, but nobody resigned,” he said.
Saleh said the statement could instead point to an internal rift in his cabinet.
Lawmaker Didi Irawadi Syamsuddin of the Democratic Party said Yudhoyono’s statement must be seen as a warning to some cabinet members.
“They run ads touting the success of their ministries, but focus on the personality of the ministers,” he said.