Markus Junianto Sihaloho
House of Representatives Speaker Marzuki Alie says President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono took over the ruling party not merely due to Democrats’ sinking popularity, but also in an effort to ease the chairman’s burden amid withering media scrutiny of late.
“The High Council got involved because of the overloaded burden of the [Democratic Party] chairman,” Marzuki said on Monday, referring to Anas Urbaningrum. “It is because media keep on attacking Anas. Poor Anas, he’s innocent but continues to be attacked.”
Yudhoyono recently said in a press conference that he would assume leadership of the Democratic Party, asking Anas to concentrate on his legal standing amid graft allegations and ongoing corruption probes to which he has been linked.
Some senior party members had urged Anas to step down and asked Yudhoyono to take concrete action to save the party after polls showed the popularity of the ruling party had sunk below that of the coalition partner Golkar Party and the opposition Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).
Marzuki said the High Council, in asking Anas to concentrate on his graft woes, did not intend to give credence to the notion of his guilt, but instead wanted to give the embattled chairman the opportunity to be proactive in clearing his name.
“That’s why SBY asked him to actively respond, so there won’t be any confirmation [of the accusations],” Marzuki said, adding that Yudhoyono will stay at the helm until the party can regain the public’s trust.
Marzuki said Yudhoyono expected to solve the problem this year, ahead of the 2014 legislative and presidential elections.