19 September 2004

Susilo successfully earns PhD in Ag-Econ at IPB

Presidential hopeful Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono succesfully defended on Saturday his doctoral dissertation on agricultural and economic development at the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB) in Bogor, West Java, some 60 km south of here, Metro TV reported.

I'm not sure an Australian prime minister or opposition leader would take time out to defend a doctoral thesis this close to an election. All polls predict a massive majority for Yudhoyono. I expect him to win, but not by as much as the polls say. Indonesia has had only 5 presidents. If Megawati loses the election she will become the fourth president since 1997 to lose office. When Suharto fell the Jakarta political elite managed to keep control of the succession. Each attempted successor to Suharto has failed, essentially because of incompetence. While Yudhoyono is also a member of that group his positions and career suggest he is capable of launching the necessary changes to complete Indonesia's democratic transition.

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