Yudhoyono loyalists, relatives fill new Democratic Party line up
Bagus BT Saragih
The Jakarta Post
The Democratic Party has revealed its new leadership lineup, with the relatives of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and members of his inner circle appointed to the party's strategic central executive board.
The new organizational structure, comprising 190 officials, was announced at party headquarters in Central Jakarta on Sunday. Yudhoyono, who pledged that he would not become preoccupied with party affairs at the expense of his presidential duties, was not present.
Democratic Party executive chairman Syariefuddin Hasan defended the party's expanded structure.
'The more party members involved in the organizational structure, the better the party's organizational machine will be,' Syarief, who is also cooperatives and small and medium enterprises minister, told reporters.
'With more individuals serving as party executives, it means that there is wider chance for the people to channel their aspirations to the party,' Syarief added.
The minister has been an ardent supporter of Yudhoyono and was recently appointed executive chairman by Yudhoyono after his own election as chairman at an extraordinary party congress in Bali last month.
Another dependable Yudhoyono supporter, Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Jero Wacik, was appointed secretary of the supreme assembly, the highest organ in the party's structure.
Meanwhile, the President's son, Edhie 'Ibas' Baskoro Yudhoyono, remains secretary-general, the most-powerful position after party chairman.
One of Yudhoyono's in-laws, Hartanto Edhie Wibowo, is head of the party's State-Owned Enterprises (SOE) department, a strategic position as an intermediary between the party and dozens of SOEs.
Toto Riyanto, a retired Air Force marshall and who graduated from the Military Academy with Yudhoyono in 1973, has retained his position as party's executive director.
Another academy classmate of Yudhoyono, Lt. Gen. (ret.) Cornel Simbolon, was appointed head of the party's organizational development division.
The new lineup features three new deputy chairpersons: Nurhayati Ali Assegaf, a confidant of First Lady Ani Yudhoyono and leader of Democratic Party lawmakers at the House of Representatives; Agus Hermanto, a lawmaker and another Yudhoyono in-law; and Soekarwo, the governor of East Java.
Incumbent deputy chairmen Jhonny Allen Marbun and Max Sopacua kept their positions.
'We have opted to have five deputy chairs because we want to distribute the responsibilities in overseeing divisions and departments,' Syarief said. 'It will also help ease the job of the chairman.'
Former treasurer Sartono Hutomo, a distant relative of Yudhoyono, was replaced by Handoyo Mulyadi, director of pharmaceutical company PT Tempo Scan Pacific. However, Sartono's new position as head of party's logistics is considered strategic, as he will be in charge of managing resources for the upcoming elections.
Former spokesperson Andi Nurpati now was appointed party as deputy-secretary-general.
Andi was controversial figure who joined the ruling party in 2010, while she serving on the General Elections Commission (KPU). The commission then fired Andi.
Arya Fernandes, a political analyst from Charta Politika, said that the Democratic Party had gone further away from notions of a modern political party.
'The party has ignored public criticism that says that it has become a party of nepotism,' Arya said.
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