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Former army general Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono won Indonesia's first-ever direct presidential elections in September 2004, unseating the incumbent Megawati Sukarnoputri. The election was hailed as the first peaceful transition of power in Indonesia's history.

Mr Yudhoyono, a former security minister in the Megawati government, promised to fight corruption, rejuvenate the economy and tackle separatist conflicts.

On the campaign trail he sought to present himself as a man of integrity and as an effective leader in times of crisis. He said the 2004 Asian tsunami disaster had precipitated the most difficult period in Indonesia's history.

The president identifies the fight against terrorism as a key challenge. As security minister he spearheaded operations to capture Islamic extremists blamed for the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings.

His administration won international plaudits for signing a peace deal in 2005 with separatist rebels in Aceh province but on the economic front he has struggled to better the lot of many Indonesians.

Some observers say he has failed to tackle corruption within the country's massive bureaucracy.

Mr Yudhoyono, a fluent English speaker, studied for his master's degree in the US. Rising through the ranks under former President Suharto, he led his country's peacekeeping contingent in Bosnia in the 1990s.

Sometimes called 'SBY', after his initials, Mr Yudhoyono is praised by his supporters for balancing strength and compassion. Critics have said he is over-cautious.

Read more.....“President Yudhoyono promised to tackle separatist conflicts”

The Jakarta Post

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