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Safeguard democratic process and maintain stability: Yudhoyono

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono reminded Indonesians to safeguard the democratic process and maintain political stability, in his annual state of the nation address in Parliament on Friday (Aug 15).

JAKARTA: Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has reminded Indonesians to safeguard the democratic process and maintain political stability. He made the comments in Parliament on Friday (Aug 15) during the annual state of the nation address, his last after two terms in office.

This comes days before the Constitutional Court is scheduled to rule over a legal petition by presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto over the election results.

As possible street protests loom following the Constitutional Court ruling next week, Dr Yudhoyono called on Indonesians to safeguard democracy and maintain the peace. He said: "The 2014 election process must truly reflect the people's wishes and not be a tussle among the political elite. I'm confident that is what our people want now."

In his speech, he also talked about his achievements during his decade in office, covering sectors such as education, combatting graft and the economy. Among them, he noted the safeguarding of the economy from the 2008 global economic crisis and the spurring of rapid economic growth that placed Indonesia within the world's top 20 major economies.

Dr Yudhoyono was able to boost the state budget, national reserves, trade volume as well as foreign and domestic investment to the highest level in Indonesia's history. Indonesia has also reached sovereign investment grade and significantly cut its debts.

Dr Yudhoyono said: "In the past nine years, Indonesia's income per capita increased by almost three fold from 10.5 milllion rupiah (S$1,120) in 2004 to 36.6 million rupiah (S$3,900) in 2013. We should be grateful for that, as not many nations had achieved that during a global economic crisis.

Nurul Arifin, a Golkar legislator, said: "I believe we need to acknowledge honestly that he was able to achieve good political stability and economic growth." Arief Wibowo, a PDI-P legislator, said: "The president's speech is his most realistic speech in the past five years. He also emphasised with conviction that democracy should be pro-people and not pro-elite."

But analysts remain divided over his achievements in office, with some saying he was more effective in pushing through major reforms during his first term in office.

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