JAKARTA (Bernama) – The progress and maturity of democracy is a tool to fulfil the interests of the people and not of certain community groups, Indonesia’s Antara news agency reported President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as saying.
“The sum of all this governance reform is to make our democracy a servant to the needs of the people and not to the narrow interests of a few elites,” Susilo said in his opening address of the 7th Bali Democracy Forum (BDF) on Friday in Nusa Dua, Bali.
He said that when any political system becomes elitist, all chains between political development, socio-economic progress and public participation will be broken.
“Since the era of ‘reformasi’ began in 1998, Indonesia’s democracy has grown from strength to strength. As someone who has always believed in democracy, I am proud to have taken part in that transformative experience: as a general, a politician and Indonesia’s sixth president,” he noted.
The president added that the democracy in Indonesia was a work in progress, and despite all the things the country had gained, the future still held challenges.
“If we can overcome these challenges, then our democracy will become even stronger,” the president stated.
He pointed out that while Indonesia gained many achievements in the process of nurturing its democracy, the country still faced challenges such as a noisy democracy, excessive freedom, black campaign during election and other irregularities.
“Nevertheless, I am convinced that all these challenges can be mitigated. My ideology is that of a strong and mature democracy; a strong and just economy; and one that has strong commitment towards environmental protection,” he stated.
Citing it was his last BDF as the president of Indonesia, Yudhoyono expressed his gratitude for the participants’ friendship, goodwill and unwavering support for his country.
“Our joint efforts have made the Bali Democracy Forum the premier inter-Governmental Forum in Asia for democracy, and that is an achievement we can all be proud of,” he remarked.