Monday, December 7, 2009

Indonesian security chiefs meet as president fears plot

Indonesia's top brass met Monday to discuss a supposed threat to the country after President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono warned that unnamed forces were planning to use an anti-graft rally to topple him.

The heads of the armed forces, the police and the intelligence agency were called to the security ministry to examine the alleged threat to the government surrounding the anti-corruption march scheduled on Wednesday.

The meeting came after Yudhoyono cryptically told a gathering of his Democratic party on Sunday that the rally was a front for a "hidden political scenario".
Yudhoyono is under mounting pressure over corruption allegations that have besieged the administration since his landslide election victory in July on the back of promises of good governance and economic growth. The softly-spoken ex-general has been slow to discipline the officials involved and has seemed out of touch with public anger over the endless stream of corruption scandals. His taciturn exterior was shaken when he angrily rejected suspicions that money from a 6.7-trillion-rupiah (710-million-dollar) government bailout for a failed bank found its way into his campaign coffers.

Yudhoyono's latest claims of a secret plot to oust him from power -- he made similar comments after a terror attack in July -- have been dismissed as "paranoid" by his critics. Anti-graft activists have also blasted suggestions that their rally is anything but a popular movement against rampant corruption. They called on Yudhoyono to stand by them rather than portray them as threats to the nation.

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