Jakarta (Asianews/Agencies) -- "Indonesia must remain united. I promise to put an end to the bloody (separatist) war in Aceh as painlessly as possible". With these words, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) confirmed domestic security and peace as the foundation of his political programme.
The former general is getting ready to become president of Indonesia. He leads with 61% of the 100 million ballots counted so far. With elections having run calmly and prospects of greater stability in domestic politics and democratic development in Indonesia, international markets have reacted well. Tuesday morning, Jakarta's stock market closed at a record high: shares jumped to 829.57 points, before retreating to 824.86 in the afternoon. The previous record was 818.16 points, set last April 27. Many investors see SBY as the "healer" of the country's economic woes, the "bearer" of necessary reforms to fight terrorism and corruption: for this reason markets are reacting well.
The decisive test for markets will be the naming of a new Cabinet, as well as the government's first concrete steps for economic reform and growth. Susilo is studying various options, but official nominations will not likely be announced until October 20, during the swearing-in ceremony. SBY, a member of the small Democratic Party, will not have an easy time without collaboration from other political entities. Megawati's coalition -- Golkar and PDI-P (Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle) -- controls 60% of parliament and could represent a serious obstacle for SBY's programme. The former general immediately asked for the out-going president's cooperation, even if most current ministers will be replaced. Some of SBY's advisors are suggesting that at least the Minister of Finance, Boediono, be retained. In the meantime, the president-elect has asked his rival, Hasyim Muzadi, to take office as Religion Minister. Hasyim, Megawati's running mate, has turned down the offer. Hasyim heads the Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia's biggest Islamic organization. He is a moderate who has condemned acts of Islamic terrorism that have shaken the country over past years.
Megawati has decided to release no comment until the announcement of official results set for October 5. (MA)