INDONESIA: For Love or For Politics?

Politics can make strange bedfellows, as the famous saying goes. Witness the brewing brouhaha in Indonesia, where a high-profile marital union is drawing almost as much attention as a presidential campaign.

The upscale marriage is between the son of the country’s president (Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono) and the daughter of a top government minister (Hatta Rajasa). The marriage broker is said to be none other than the Indonesian President’s wife (Kristiani Herawati). And at the center of this figurative political wedding cake is an obvious succession scenario to the current president, who is the father of the groom. That’s son Edhie Baskoro Yudhoyono, and he is now thought to be a leading candidate for the highest political job in the world’s most populous Muslim country — someday.

But son Edhie is too young to ascend to the presidency so soon. Into the breach comes his father, Minister Hatta, who’d replace the current incumbent in 2014 and hold down the presidential fort for two terms. Then enters the son, by that time 39.

Does love have anything at all to do with this marriage? It involves, to be sure, a union of two main political parties — Hatta’s moderate Islamic party (PAN) and the President’s somewhat scandal-battered Democratic Party. What’s more, the father of the bride is from South Sumatra, and the father of the groom is originally from East Java. If nothing else, then, this would appear to be a marriage made in political heaven. Notwithstanding the Machiavellian machinations, we do wish the happy new couple a long and happy life.

(by Selina Swatek, LMU student and free-lance contributor)

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Asia Sentinel


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