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Yudhoyono launches book on his experiences

Publication Date : 18-01-2014


Ten months before his decade-long tenure comes to an end, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has launched a political book that he hopes will serve as a guide to future leaders.

Some 1,200 guests attended last night's launch of Selalu Ada Pilihan: Untuk Pencinta Demokrasi Dan Para Pemimpin Indonesia Mendatang (There Is Always A Choice: For Fans of Democracy And Indonesia's Next Leaders).

The 824-page book reportedly took Yudhoyono a year to write using notes he made on his iPad. It has four chapters that focus on his political career, national issues and domestic politicking, and the challenges he faced in office, such as dealing with an aggressive press.

"This is not an autobiography or a memoir... a memoir I will write when I am no longer a leader," the president told the gathering. "This is not a textbook theory or critical analysis of political philosophies or democracy or the economy. It is a collection of my knowledge and experience that could benefit those who read it. It is for lovers of democracy and whoever who aspires to be a leader."

Dressed in dark brown batik, Yudhoyono attended the launch with his wife, Kristiani Herawati.

They seemed relaxed, laughing at jokes made on stage. Guests included Vice-President Boediono and wife, and former vice-president Jusuf Kalla.

Yudhoyono is highly regarded internationally and is seen as someone who has captained Indonesia through its most politically stable period in recent history. But domestic rivals have poured cold water on his track record, and say the book is timed to help win sympathy for him and his Democratic Party ahead of the April 9 election.

"This is an election year, so this book launch is an attempt to win sympathy for all the criticisms he has faced and increase the electability of his party,"  Sarifuddin Sudding, a politician from the People's Conscience Party (Hanura), was quoted as saying in the Merdeka daily newspaper.

But Yudhoyono appears to have anticipated the brickbats. In the book, he writes: "A critic is a man who knows the way but can't drive the car."


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