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Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

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Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
Official portrait, 2009
6th President of Indonesia
In office
20 October 2004 – 20 October 2014
Vice President
Preceded byMegawati Sukarnoputri
Succeeded byJoko Widodo
8th Coordinating Minister of Political, Social, and Security Affairs
In office
10 August 2001 – 12 March 2004
PresidentMegawati Sukarnoputri
Preceded byAgum Gumelar
Succeeded by
In office
23 August 2000 – 1 June 2001
PresidentAbdurrahman Wahid
Preceded bySoerjadi Soedirdja
Succeeded byAgum Gumelar
11th Minister of Mining and Energy
In office
29 October 1999 – 23 August 2000
PresidentAbdurrahman Wahid
Preceded byKuntoro Mangkusubroto
Succeeded byPurnomo Yusgiantoro
24th Commander of Kodam II/Sriwijaya
In office
23 August 1996 – 7 August 1997
Preceded byMajor General Karyono
Succeeded byMajor General Suadi Atma
4th Chairman of the Democratic Party
In office
30 March 2013 – 15 March 2020
Preceded byAnas Urbaningrum
Succeeded byAgus Harimurti Yudhoyono
Personal details
Born (1949-09-09) 9 September 1949 (age 74)
Patjitan, Indonesia
Political partyDemokrat
  • 177 cm (5 ft 10 in) (2020)[1]
  • 175 cm (5 ft 9 in) (2000)[2]
(m. 1976; died 2019)
  • Raden Soekotjo (father)
  • Siti Habibah (mother)
Alma mater
  • SBY
  • Thinking General
Military service
Branch/serviceIndonesian Army
Years of service1973–2000
RankGeneral (honorary)
UnitInfantry (Kostrad)
CommandsKodam II/Sriwijaya
  • Tri Sakti Wiratama
  • Adhi Makayasa
Service no.25308

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (born 9 September 1949), commonly referred to as SBY, is an Indonesian politician and retired army general who served as the sixth president of Indonesia from 2004 to 2014 and the second Indonesian President from the military after Suharto. He founded the Democratic Party of Indonesia, he served as the 4th leader of the Democratic Party from 2014 until 2020, 8th and 10th Coordinating Minister of Politics and Security Affairs of Indonesia from 2000 until 2001, and again from 2001 until 2004. He also served as the president of the Assembly and chair of the Council of the Global Green Growth Institute. He was also the former chairman of ASEAN due to Indonesia's hosting of the 18th and 19th ASEAN Summits.

Yudhoyono won the 2004 presidential election—the first direct presidential election in Indonesia, defeating incumbent president Megawati Sukarnoputri. He was sworn into office on 20 October 2004, together with Jusuf Kalla as vice president. He ran for re-election in 2009 with Boediono as his running mate, and won with an outright majority of the votes in the first round of balloting; he was sworn in for a second term on 20 October 2009.

During his tenure as president, Indonesia participated in many world peace missions, both at the national and international levels. Yudhoyono successfully negotiated a deal that ended the Aceh Insurgency, an insurgency which lasted from 1976 to 2005. As a result, he was given the title "Father of Peace".[3]

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award (Champions of the Earth) in 2014.[4]


The name Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is of Javanese origins, with Sanskrit roots. Susilo comes from the words su-, meaning "good" and -sila, meaning "behaviour, conduct or moral". Bambang is a traditional male name in Javanese, meaning "knight". While Yudhoyono comes from the words yuddha, meaning "battle, fight"; and yana, meaning "journey". Thus his full name roughly translates to "well behaved knight on a war mission".[5]

The name "Yudhoyono" is not an inherited surname; most Javanese do not have surnames. Rather, he chose it for his military name-tag, and it is how he is referred to abroad.[6][7][8] His children and grandchildren go by the name "Yudhoyono", and in formal meetings and functions he is addressed as Dr. Yudhoyono. In Indonesia, he is usually referred to and widely known as "SBY".[9]

Early life and education[edit]

Early life and family[edit]

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was born on 9 September 1949, in Tremas, a village in Arjosari, Pacitan Regency, East Java, to a lower-middle-class family. His father was a Javanese man named Raden Soekotjo (1925 – 4 August 2001), whose lineage can be traced to Hamengkubuwono II,[10] while his mother was a Javanese woman named Siti Habibah (30 June 1932 – 30 August 2019).[11]


Yudhoyono had wanted to join the army since he was a child.[12] In school, he developed a reputation as an academic achiever, excelling in writing poems, short stories, and play-acting.[citation needed] Yudhoyono was also talented in music and sport, reflected when he and his friends established a volleyball club called Klub Rajawali and a band called Gaya Teruna.[13]

When he was in fifth grade, Yudhoyono visited the Indonesian Armed Forces Academy (AKABRI). After seeing the soldiers training there and perhaps inspired by his own father's career, Yudhoyono became determined to join the Indonesian Armed Forces and become a soldier. Yudhoyono planned to enlist after graduating from high school in 1968; however, he missed the registration period.[12]

Young Yudhoyono then became a student under the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember (ITS) in Surabaya before entering the Vocational Education Development Center in Malang, East Java. There, he was able to prepare everything for the next phase of his education at the military academy AKABRI. Yudhoyono officially entered AKABRI in 1970 after passing the test in Bandung.[12]

Yudhoyono also studied in the United States, where he received his master's degree in Business Management from Webster University in 1991. He subsequently earned PhD in agricultural economics from the Bogor Agricultural University on 3 October 2004, two days before his presidential victory was announced.[14] He was also awarded two honorary doctorates in 2005 in the fields, respectively, of law from his alma mater, Webster University, and in political science from Thammasat University in Thailand. On 12 June 2014, he earned professor degree from Defense University of Indonesia in National Defense Science.[15]

Military service[edit]

Military academy[edit]

Yudhoyono spent three years at AKABRI and became the commander of the Cadet Corps Division there. He graduated from AKABRI as second lieutenant in 1973, and as the best graduate of the year, received the prestigious Adhi Makayasa medal from President Suharto.[16]

Cadet First Sergeant Major ("Sersan Mayor Satu Taruna") Yudhoyono, 1973.


After graduating, Yudhoyono joined the Army Strategic Reserve (Kostrad) and became a platoon commander in the 330th Airborne Battalion. Aside from leading his troops, Yudhoyono was also tasked with giving the battalion soldiers lessons on general knowledge and English. Yudhoyono's proficiency in English was one of the reasons why he was sent to the United States to undertake the Airborne and Ranger Courses at Fort Benning in 1975.[16]

Yudhoyono returned to Indonesia in 1976, where he became a platoon commander in the 305th Battalion and was assigned to Indonesian-occupied East Timor. Yudhoyono had several tours of duty and, like many other Indonesian officers involved in the occupation of East Timor, was accused of committing war crimes.[17] However, Yudhoyono has never been charged with any specific act. From East Timor, Yudhoyono became a mortar platoon commander in 1977, an operations officer for an airborne brigade from 1977 to 1978, and a company commander at Kostrad from 1979 to 1981. Yudhoyono then spent 1981 and 1982 working at the Army headquarters.[18]

While working at the Army headquarters, Yudhoyono was sent to the United States again, this time to participate in the Infantry Officer Advanced Course at Fort Benning and in training with the 82nd Airborne Division. Yudhoyono also spent time in Panama and went through the jungle warfare school. When Yudhoyono returned in 1983, he was made commander of the Infantry Trainers' School. It was not long before he was abroad again, this time to Belgium and West Germany, to undertake the Antitank weapons Course. In 1985, Yudhoyono also took a Battalion Commando Course in Malaysia.[citation needed]

General Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in official military portrait, 2000.

From 1986 to 1988, Yudhoyono served with Kodam IX/Udayana, which covers Bali and the Lesser Sunda Islands. Yudhoyono was a battalion commander from 1986 to 1988 and was part of the operational staff in 1988. In 1989, Yudhoyono became a lecturer at the Army Staff College (Seskoad) and delivered a presentation entitled "ABRI's Professionalism at the Present and in the Future". Together with Agus Wirahadikusumah, Yudhoyono published a book entitled "The Challenges of Development".[16]

Whilst at Seskoad, Yudhoyono also took the opportunity to further his own military education. He went to the US Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. While in the United States, he took the opportunity to obtain an MA degree in business management from Webster University in 1991.[19]

In 1992, Yudhoyono was transferred to the Army Information Department and worked as a speechwriter for General Edi Sudrajat, the Army chief of staff. In 1993, when Edi became commander of the Military of Indonesia (ABRI), Yudhoyono joined Edi's personal staff. Edi did not last long as ABRI commander and Yudhoyono was then transferred back to Kostrad where he became a brigade commander. A year later, Yudhoyono was the operations assistant at Jaya (Jakarta) Military Area Command before taking command IV/Diponegoro Military Area Command in Central Java. Yudhoyono had one more stint overseas when he became Indonesia's chief military observer of the United Nation Peacekeeping Force in Bosnia in 1995–96.[20]

When Yudhoyono returned to Indonesia, he was made KODAM Jaya chief of staff before being appointed as KODAM II/Sriwijaya commander. In this position, Yudhoyono was responsible for military operations in southern Sumatra.[21] He served in this position until 1997, when he was appointed chief of staff for social-political affairs. At the same time, he was also appointed chairman of the ABRI Faction in the People's Consultative Assembly General Session and participated in Suharto's election to a seventh term as president. [22]

Suharto's resignation[edit]

During the days which would lead to Suharto's resignation in May 1998, Yudhoyono and pro-reform ABRI officers conducted meetings and discussions with Nurcholish Madjid, a secular pro-reform Muslim leader. From his discussions, Yudhoyono accepted the fact that Suharto should resign but like the ABRI officers who went to the meeting with him, was reluctant to withdraw their support of Suharto publicly, much less ask for Suharto's resignation.[23] Nevertheless, the pressure eventually become too much for Suharto, who resigned on 21 May 1998.

As Indonesia entered the reform era, ABRI's popularity, because of its association with Suharto, was at an all-time low. To de-emphasise ABRI's political role, Yudhoyono's chief of staff for social-political affairs was renamed chief of staff for territorial affairs and in 1999, ABRI was renamed TNI and the Indonesian National Police (Polri) was split off. At this time, Yudhoyono's popularity began to increase[citation needed] as he offered ideas and concepts to reform the military and nation. He did this by combining the strong reformist sentiment of the time with TNI's concern for security and stability.[23] Because of his high education (finishing his doctorate during the course of the presidential elections) and his well planned manoeuvres, Yudhoyono came to be known as "the thinking general".[24]

Political career[edit]

Wahid presidency[edit]

Yudhoyono's official portrait as Minister of Mining and Energy, 1999

Yudhoyono was appointed mining and energy minister in the cabinet of President Abdurrahman Wahid in 1999. According to General Wiranto, who assisted Wahid in the formation of the Cabinet, he had recommended to the president that Yudhoyono would do better as Army chief of staff.[25] However, Wahid rejected the idea and Yudhoyono became the minister of mining and energy instead. At the same time, Yudhoyono ended his military career with the rank of lieutenant general, although he would be made honorary general in 2000.[26]

Yudhoyono's popularity grew,[citation needed] even as minister of mining and energy. In June 2000, there were rumours that Wahid, because of his lack of skill as an administrator was going to appoint a first minister to look after the day-to-day running of the government.[27] Yudhoyono's name appeared as a potential candidate for the position, although eventually Wahid appointed Vice President Megawati Sukarnoputri as the day to day administrator.

In August 2000, after a cabinet reshuffle, Yudhoyono became the coordinating minister for politic and security affairs. One of his tasks was to separate the army from politics. This was in line with his reformist ideas on the future of Indonesian military, and is a view he has held since his days in an army policy center. He said at that time:

Since 1998, the military has decided to stay out of day-to-day politics. The basic idea of military reform is to go back to the role and function of the military as a defense force and move them away from politics systematically. The trend is moving in such a way that there is no so-called 'dual function' of the military, there is no so-called social political mission in the military.

Another task that Yudhoyono was given was as an intermediary between Wahid and the Suharto family. At the time, Wahid was trying to make Suharto hand back all the money which he had allegedly obtained through corruption when he was president. [citation needed] Yudhoyono was sent by Wahid to convey this wish and to negotiate with the former first family. However, Yudhoyono was not successful in this venture.

At the beginning of 2001, with political pressure increasing on him, Wahid ordered Yudhoyono to form a crisis centre with Yudhoyono as chairman[28] The purpose of this crisis centre was to assist the president in giving policy advice and was headquartered at Yudhoyono's office. It seemed as if because of this appointment, Yudhoyono could be considered one of Wahid's men, however Yudhoyono would break ranks from Wahid in July 2001 when the latter was facing impeachment. In desperation, Wahid issued a decree freezing the People's Representative Council (DPR) and then asked Yudhoyono to declare a state of emergency to further strengthen his position. Yudhoyono refused to accept this, and Wahid dismissed him.[29]

Megawati presidency[edit]

Yudhoyono's official portrait as Coordinating Minister of Political, Social, and Security Affairs, 1999

On 23 July 2001, in a special session, the MPR impeached Wahid and replaced him with Megawati as president. A few days later when the MPR assembled to elect a new vice president, Yudhoyono threw his name in the hat and competed against Golkar's Akbar Tanjung and United Development Party's (PPP) Hamzah Haz.[28] Yudhoyono and Akbar lost out to Hamzah Haz who became the new vice president.

Yudhoyono was appointed to his old position of coordinating minister of political and security affairs in Megawati's new cabinet. After the Bali bombings in October 2002, he oversaw the hunt for and arrest of those responsible, and gained a reputation both in Indonesia and abroad as one of the few Indonesian politicians serious about the War on Terrorism. His speech during the one-year anniversary of the Bali bombings (in which many Australians were killed) was praised by the Australian media and public.[29]

Yudhoyono also dealt with the Free Aceh Movement (GAM), a separatist movement wanting to separate the Province of Aceh from Indonesia. On his advice, Megawati declared martial law in Aceh on 19 May 2003, which was then extended in November.[30]

Democratic Party[edit]

Yudhoyono's supporters saw Yudhoyono's participation in the vice-presidential election as a sign of his popularity and recognised Yudhoyono's potential as a possible leader for Indonesia. One of these supporters, Vence Rumangkang approached Yudhoyono with the idea of forming a political party to help shore up support for the 2004 presidential elections. Yudhoyono approved of the idea and after going through the basic concepts, left Rumangkang in charge of forming the Party.

From 12 to 19 August 2001, Rumangkang began holding a series of meetings to discuss the formation of the party while holding consultations with Yudhoyono. Yudhoyono personally led the meetings on 19 and 20 August 2001, and the basic outline of the Democratic Party was finalised.

On 9 September 2001, the formation of the party was officially declared and on 10 September it was registered at the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights.

The organizers behind Democratic Party's formation went to extreme lengths to make sure that PD was Yudhoyono's personal political party. The declaration of its formation was 9 September 2001, which was Yudhoyono's birthday and to start off with, the Party had 99 members.

Road to presidency[edit]

Yudhoyono in United Nations.

The United Democratic Nationhood Party (PPDK) was the first to bring up the subject of nomination. In September 2003, Yudhoyono's own party began to make preparations in case Yudhoyono was willing to accept a presidential nomination. The Democratic Party then initiated a publicity campaign to promote Yudhoyono as a candidate. For his part, Yudhoyono was not responsive both to PPDK or the Democratic Party's manoeuvrings to nominate him and continued his duties as minister. PPDK was disappointed in Yudhoyono's reaction and the Democratic Party continued to wait for Yudhoyono to resign his position as was expected of all presidential candidates apart from the incumbent president and vice president.[31]

The turning point came on 1 March 2004, when Yudhoyono's secretary, Sudi Silalahi announced to the media that for the last six months, Yudhoyono had been excluded from policy decision-making in the field of politics and security.[32] On 2 March 2004, Megawati responded that she had never excluded Yudhoyono, while her husband, Taufiq Kiemas called Yudhoyono childish for complaining to the media instead of the president herself. On 8 March 2004, Yudhoyono sent a letter asking for permission to meet the president about his ministerial authority. Megawati did not respond when she received the letter, although she invited Yudhoyono along to a cabinet meeting on 11 March 2004. Yudhoyono did not attend the cabinet meeting and instead held a press conference at his office and announced his resignation from the position of coordinating minister of political and security affairs. He also announced that he was ready to be nominated as a presidential candidate.

Yudhoyono's popularity skyrocketed after his falling out with Megawati as he was seen by the people as the underdog. However this popularity did not translate to a victory for the Democratic Party at the 2004 legislative elections. The party won 7.5% of the votes, which was still enough to nominate Yudhoyono as a presidential candidate. Yudhoyono accepted the nomination and picked Golkar's Jusuf Kalla as his running mate. Aside from the Democratic Party, their presidential and vice-presidential candidacy was supported by the Crescent Star Party (PBB), the Reform Star Party (PBR) and the Indonesian Justice and Unity Party (PKPI).[33]

The rapid rise in Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's (center) popularity helped the Democratic Party garner 7.45% of votes during the April 2004 legislative election.[34]

Yudhoyono's manifesto for the future of Indonesia, summarised in a book titled "Vision For Change" written by him and distributed for free during the campaign, was built on four pillars: prosperity, peace, justice and democracy. At the top of his agenda was a plan for increasing economic prosperity, aiming for economic growth of at least 7% and a revival of small and medium-sized enterprises. He also put forward policies to offer better credit lines, to cut red tape, improve labour laws and to root out corruption from the top down. He told an interviewer:

If we are to reduce poverty, create jobs, increase purchasing power and rebuild infrastructure, then we will need new capital. Of course, to be able to invite investment, I have to improve the climate – legal certainties, political stability, law and order, sound tax policies, customs policies, good labor management. I will improve the guarantees to encourage investors to come to Indonesia.

Yudhoyono's perceived communication skills made him the front-runner throughout the election campaign, according to many opinion polls and the opinions of election commentators,[35] ahead of the other candidates (Megawati, Wiranto, Amien Rais, and Hamzah). On 5 July 2004, Yudhoyono participated in the first round of the presidential election, coming first with 33% of the votes. However, 50% of votes were required for a new president and vice president to be elected, and this meant Yudhoyono going into a run-off against Megawati.

In the run-off, Yudhoyono faced a challenge from Megawati's Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle (PDI-P), forming a national coalition with Golkar, the PPP, Prosperous Peace Party (PDS) and the Indonesian National Party (PNI). Yudhoyono then declared that his coalition, which now received political support from the National Awakening Party (PKB), the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) and the National Mandate Party (PAN), would be the people's coalition. On 20 September 2004, Yudhoyono participated in the run-off election, winning it with 60.87% of the vote. Yudhoyono was inaugurated as president on 20 October 2004.[36] In February 2010, SBY was named as the political figure who had achieved The Gold Standard in Political Communications on YouTube by the influential Public Affairs Asia network and magazine.

Presidency (2004–2014)[edit]

Yudhoyono's official presidential portrait on his first term, taken in 2004.


Presidential elections were held in Indonesia on 8 July 2009. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono won more than 60% (60.08%) of the vote in the first round, which enabled him to secure re-election without a run-off. Yudhoyono was officially declared the victor of the election on 23 July 2009, by the General Election Commission. Other candidates are Megawati Sukarnoputri PDI-P Party 26.79%, Jusuf Kalla Golkar Party 12.41%. The day of his inauguration in 2004, Yudhoyono announced his new cabinet, which would be known as the United Indonesia Cabinet (Kabinet Indonesia Bersatu). Consisting of 36 ministers, it included members of the Democratic Party, Golkar and the PPP, PBB, PKB, PAN, PKP, and PKS. Professionals were also named in the cabinet, most of them taking on ministries in the economic field. The military were also included, with five former members appointed to the cabinet. As Yudhoyono's promised during the election, four of the cabinet appointees were female.[37] Yudhoyono's Second United Indonesia Cabinet was announced in October 2009 after he was re-elected as president earlier in the year. The vice president in Yudhoyono's second cabinet was Boediono. Boediono replaced Jusuf Kalla who was vice president in the first Yudhoyono cabinet.

Balance of power with Kalla[edit]

Although he had won the presidency, Yudhoyono was still weak in the Indonesian parliament, the House of Representatives (DPR). The Democratic Party, even combined with all of its coalition partners, had far fewer representatives than Golkar and the PDI-P, which played the role of opposition.

With a national congress to be held in December 2004, Yudhoyono and Kalla had originally backed Agung Laksono speaker to become Golkar chairman. When Agung was perceived to be too weak to run against Akbar Tanjung, Yudhoyono and Kalla threw their weight behind Surya Paloh. Finally, when Paloh was perceived to be too weak to run against Akbar, Yudhoyono gave the green light for Kalla to run for the Golkar Chairmanship.[38] On 19 December 2004, Kalla was elected as the new chairman of Golkar.

Kalla's victory posed a dilemma for Yudhoyono. Although it now enabled Yudhoyono to pass legislation, Kalla's new position meant that he was now more powerful than Yudhoyono in terms of influence in parliament.

After the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami Kalla, apparently on his own initiative, assembled Ministers and signed a vice-presidential decree ordering work to begin on rehabilitating Aceh. The legality of his vice-presidential decree was questioned[39] although Yudhoyono maintained that it was he who gave the orders for Kalla to proceed.

In September 2005, when Yudhoyono went to New York City to attend the annual United Nations Summit, he left Vice President Kalla in charge. Yudhoyono held a video conference from New York to receive reports from ministers. Critics suggest that this was an expression of distrust by Yudhoyono.[40] The suggestion seemed to gain momentum when Kalla only showed up for one video conference and then spent the rest of the time taking care of Golkar matters.

To defuse political tensions in the country with the increase in fuel prices, a number of national figures met including former presidents Abdurahman Wahid and Megawati Soekarnoputri to defuse the atmosphere.

President Yudhoyono sent Vice President Jusuf Kalla to meet with these national figures. After previously keeping in touch with Megawati, Kalla also held a meeting with former President KH Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur). The arrival of Kalla at Gus Dur's residence Jl. Warung Silah Ciganjur, Jakarta, was greeted directly by Yenny Wahid on the terrace of the house. Kalla, wearing a long-sleeved batik shirt, immediately entered the living room where Gus Dur had been sitting waiting. After shaking hands and hugging each other, Kalla sat on the left side of Gus Dur in a long chair with Mrs. Mufidah. Meanwhile, Mrs. Sinta Nuriyah sat beside Yenny Wahid. The conversation was immediately warm, punctuated by Gus Dur's typical jokes.[41]

Kalla in particular came to the residence of Megawati on Jl Teuku Umar Jakarta, for a friendly and halal bi halal 1428 H. Kalla was welcomed by Megawati Soekarnoputri along with Taufiq Kiemas and his daughter Puan Maharani. After shaking hands with Kalla, Megawati went inside a few moments later. For a few minutes, it turned out that Megawati came back into the living room and met with Kalla and Mufidah's mother, who were sitting side by side with Puan Maharani. On that occasion the two leaders had a casual chat. Megawati had time to talk about food. Meanwhile, the Vice President responded intimately, resulting in very warm communication. The gathering of about 15 minutes gave the impression that there was never any difference between the two leaders.[41]

Dealings with Suharto[edit]

On 6 May 2005, Yudhoyono visited Suharto at hospital when the latter suffered from intestinal bleeding. On 5 January 2007, Yudhoyono and his wife visited Suharto, who was again hospitalised due to anaemia as well as heart and kidney problems.[42][43] After the visit, Yudhoyono made an appeal to all Indonesians to pray for Suharto's recovery.[44]

Responding to some public requests for Suharto to be granted a pardon for possible past mistakes in governing Indonesia, presidential spokesperson Andi Mallarangeng said, "A visit from an incumbent president to a hospitalized former president is something normal. However, this show of humanity and legal steps are two different things."[45]

Foreign policy[edit]

Yudhoyono and his wife Ani Yudhoyono greeted US president George W. Bush and his wife Laura Bush at the Bogor Palace in Bogor, November 2006.
Yudhoyono meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin to sign a defense deal in Jakarta, September 2007.

President Yudhoyono's foreign policy sought to create new breakthroughs for the strategic development of Indonesia's defense, namely ending the US military embargo, which was aided by support from Washington. The Bush administration claimed that ending the arms embargo and modernizing the Indonesian Defence Force will help Jakarta address mutual security concerns such as terrorism, maritime piracy, narcotics trafficking, pandemic disease, and disaster relief. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns said that Indonesia, as "the world's largest Muslim state and its third-largest democracy, is a voice of moderation in the Islamic world and plays a unique strategic role in Southeast Asia".[46]

In February 2005, the US government reinstated Indonesia's eligibility for the International Military Education and Training program in order to upgrade the quality of its officer corps. In May 2005, it removed restrictions on nonlethal defense equipment such as communications and transport systems. This lifted the last remaining barrier, a ban on sale of lethal weaponry and related equipment. Still recovering from the Asian financial crisis, the Indonesian government lacked the funds to purchase new armaments but took advantage of the new rules to purchase spare parts for its aging fleet of 10 U.S.-supplied F-16 fighters. Invoking these accomplishments at the APEC conference, Yudhoyono argued that Indonesia had proven itself worthy of resumed military engagement with the United States.[47] While there, he also spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin about further defense cooperation with Moscow following the 2003 purchase of four Sukhoi warplanes and two MI-35 assault helicopters. In addition to its dealings with the United States and Russia, Yudhoyono considered purchasing weapons from other potential suppliers, which included several European Union countries, South Korea, India, and China.[46]


In a meeting with regional heads, President Yudhoyono outlined some of the government's achievements in the economic field

We have to be grateful that much has been achieved even though some have not been achieved," he explained. He added that the economic conditions at the start of the first period in 2004 were still characterized by low GDP and significant economic growth. lack of infrastructure. The process of economic consolidation then started and social and security conditions became more stable after peaceful and democratic elections, he said. Salaries for civil servants are still low while the budget for health is still limited, he added.

He indicated that GDP and foreign exchange reserves had increased significantly and the ratio of debt to gross domestic product could be reduced from 56 percent to 23 percent. President Yudhoyono added that the debt ratio of 23 percent to GDP wasfar below developed countries such as Germany (86.1 percent), United States (104.1 percent), and United Kingdom ( 107 percent). He said, during the 2004-2014 period, domestic and foreign debt could also be reduced while the state budget was increased fourfold. In 2004, the country's per capita income was recorded at US$1188 but ten years later it rose to US$3490. Indonesia is also recorded as a country with the second highest economic growth rate since 2009 after China with the country's exports increasing threefold. In the energy sector, Yudhoyono acknowledged, although electricity capacity increased twice during his administration, it remained small. Yudhoyono gave the example of the Master Plan for the Acceleration of Indonesian Economic Development (MP3EI), which from 2011 to 2013, reached a value of IDR 828.7 trillion.[48]

Yudhoyono was also able to initiate the disbanding of the Consultative Group on Indonesia (CGI) because he wanted Indonesia to be more independent and less dependent on many parties. President Yudhoyono said

Indonesia no longer needs to discuss development program plans with creditor forums. “Indonesia will do everything by itself without the help of CGI. Because of that, we see that there is no need for a CGI forum anymore,” he explained, the CGI dissolution policy had been started since last year. He also emphasized the importance of the Indonesian people to be more independent in planning and implementing development. The dissolution of CGI, he said, demanded Indonesia's full responsibility to determine the budget and meet financial needs

Established in 1992, the CGI was a consortium of countries and institutions providing loans to Indonesia, set up by the Indonesian government and the World Bank. Its membership was made up of 30 bilateral and multilateral creditors, including the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund and industrialized countries such as Japan and the United States, as well as many other smaller countries and many other world financial and aid institutions. In 2006 the Consultative Group on Indonesia pledged $5.4 billion in fresh loans and grants for Indonesia. Finance Minister Sri Mulyani said the Consultative Group on Indonesia (CGI) was no longer needed as the country's primary creditors were only the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Japan, and that Indonesia now preferred one-on-one negotiations rather than round table, multilateral ones. She said the dissolution of the CGI was also of benefit to Indonesia as it freed the government of the need to explain its intentions and plans to many different parties. Iman Sugema, director of the International Center for Applied Finance and Economics (Inter-CAFE) at the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB), applauded the president's plan to dissolve the CGI and said the CGI had not benefited Indonesia because the donor countries often put too many demands on the nation.[49]

Social protection[edit]

The Yudhoyono government enacted Law Number 24 of 2011 concerning the Social Security Administering Body. The law is a government initiative to improve people's welfare through the health and employment insurance system. According to the Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare, Agung Laksono, "Private insurance companies need not worry about the implementation of Law concerning the Social Security Administering Body (BPJS), there will still be middle to upper income groups who need their services", the law calls for the establishment of a Social Security System which will be operated by an institution that will be formed by combining two state-owned companies, namely PT Jamsostek which provides workers' social security BPJS Ketenagakerjaan and PT Askes which is engaged in health insurance BPJS Kesehatan. The merger of the two companies was expected to occur before 1 January 2014. Meanwhile, according to Suryo Bambang Sulisto, Chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), "Indonesian entrepreneurs accepted the law as something positive and Kadin members were ready to apply it in their companies".[50]

In July 2005, Yudhoyono launched the Schools Operational Assistance (BOS) program.[51] Under this arrangement, the government gave money to principals to financially assist in the running of schools. Should BOS be able to provide significant financial assistance to the school the school was expected to lower fees or if they are able to, to abolish fees altogether. In June 2006, Yudhoyono launched Books BOS which provided funds for the purchase of textbooks.[52]

Other activities[edit]

Yudhoyono in the Polish Senate in 2013.
Yudhoyono with Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in 2013

On 17 August 2007, Yudhoyono proposed that eight nations that were home to some 80% of the world's tropical rainforests join diplomatic ranks amid increasing concern over global warming. Indonesia led a summit of eight countries (on 24 September in New York) – Brazil, Cameroon, Congo, Costa Rica, Gabon, Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea. On 3–15 December 2007, Indonesia hosted the 13th Conferences of the Parties (COP-13) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bali.[53]

During the Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy, Yudhoyono stated that the Pope's comments were "unwise and inappropriate,"[54] but also that "Indonesian Muslims should have wisdom, patience, and self-restraint to address this sensitive issue....We need them so that harmony among people is not at stake."[55]

Yudhoyono was one of the 100 World's Most Influential People in 2009 according to TIME Magazine.[56]

During an official visit to Australia on 9–11 March 2010, he was appointed an Honorary Companion of the Order of Australia (AC)[57] and addressed Australian Parliament, the first Indonesian head of state to do so.[58]

Yudhoyono was made an honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB) by HM Queen Elizabeth II on 30 October 2012.[59]

Assassination plot[edit]

Indonesian security forces claimed to have uncovered a plot to murder Yudhoyono, which was set on Indonesian Independence Day on 17 August 2010.[60]

Political party[edit]

During his presidency, Yudhoyono further consolidated his position within the Democratic Party. In May 2005, at PD's first National Congress, Yudhoyono was elected chairman of the executive board (Ketua Dewan Pembina).[61] In this position, Yudhoyono had the highest authority, superseding that of chairman.

Yudhoyono stands next to his successor, Joko Widodo during the latter's inauguration, October 2014.

2014 general election[edit]

On 27 December 2012, the daily edition of The Jakarta Post hinted at a possible collaboration in Indonesia's 2014 general election between the families of Yudhoyono and former Indonesian President Megawati and their political parties, the Democratic Party and the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle respectively.[62] The Constitution of Indonesia limits presidents to two terms of office, making Yudhoyono ineligible to run for a third term.


After his terms as president ended, Yudhoyono remained active in politics, being reelected as leader of his party in 2015.[63] In the 2019 presidential election, he supported Prabowo Subianto's second bid for presidency.[64] Yudhoyono was replaced by his son Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono as the leader of the Democratic Party on 15 March 2020.[65]

After 10 years of his presidency ended on 20 October 2014, SBY was elected as President of the Assembly and Chair of the Council of the Global Green Growth Institute for the period September 2014 to December 2016. SBY succeeded Danish prime minister (from 2009 to 2011 and since June 2015) Lars Løkke Rasmussen, the previous GGGI Council chair.[66]

He continued to live with his wife Ani until her death on 1 June 2019. In November 2021, it was announced Yudhoyono was diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer.[67]

Personal life[edit]

Yudhoyono family in 2003, from left to right: Edhie Baskoro Yudhoyono, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Ani Yudhoyono, and Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono

During his presidency, Yudhoyono lived both in the presidential Merdeka Palace in Jakarta and at his family residence in Cikeas, Bogor with his wife, Ani Yudhoyono. First Lady Ani Yudhoyono held a political science degree from Merdeka University, and was the first vice-chairman of her husband's Democratic Party. She was the eldest child of retired army Lt. General Sarwo Edhie Wibowo, one of Indonesia's high-profile generals.[68]

The family's eldest son, Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono (born 1978), graduated from Taruna Nusantara High School in 1997 and the Indonesian Military Academy in 2000 and is a holder of the Adhi Makayasa Medal like his father, continuing family tradition as the best graduate of the Military Academy. In July 2006, Agus graduated from the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies, Singapore with a master's degree in strategic studies, and is currently studying at Harvard University.[69] In a speech at Harvard Kennedy School in September 2009, Yudhoyono joked that his son became "another Harvard student working for" him – some of Yudhoyono's ministers and military generals also went to Harvard.[70] He is married to Annisa Pohan,[71] a fashion model and the daughter of Aulia Pohan [id], a former Bank Indonesia deputy governor. The couple's daughter, Almira Tunggadewi Yudhoyono, was born on 17 August 2008.[72] He is currently serving as the 15th Minister of Agrarian Affairs and Spatial Planning under Joko Widodo's presidency since February 2024.[73]

The family's younger son, Edhie Baskoro Yudhoyono (born 1980), received his bachelor's degree in economics from the Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Western Australia[14] and his master's degree from the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies, Singapore.[74] He is married to Siti Ruby Aliya Radjasa,[75][76] daughter of Hatta Rajasa, one of his father's prominent Cabinet ministers. They have two sons, Airlangga Satriadhi Yudhoyono and Pancasakti Maharajasa Yudhoyono, and two daughters, Gayatari Idalia Yudhoyono and Alisha Prameswari Yudhoyono.[77] He is currently serving as the Member of People's Representative Council from East Java VII for 2019–2024 period, member of Sixth Commission, and also parliamentary group chairman for Democratic Party's faction since October 2019.[78]

Family tree[edit]

Raden Soekotjo
Siti Habibah
Edhie Wibowo

Sunarti Sri Hadiyah
Aulia Tantowi Pohan [id]
b. 1945
MulyaningsihSusilo Bambang Yudhoyono
b. 1949
Kristiani Herrawati Yudhoyono
Pramono Edhie Wibowo
Muhammad Hatta Rajasa
b. 1953
Oktiniwati Ulfa Dariah Rajasa
Annisa Larasati Pohan
b. 1981
Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono
b. 1978
Edhie Baskoro Yudhoyono
b. 1980
Siti Ruby Aliya Rajasa
b. 1986
Almira Tunggadewi Yudhoyono
b. 2008
Airlangga Satriadhi Yudhoyono
b. 2012
Pancasakti Maharajasa Yudhoyono
b. 2015
Gayatri Idalia Yudhoyono
b. 2018
Alisha Prameswari Yudhoyono
b. 2022

Arts and literature[edit]

In 2023, Yudhoyono opened SBY-Ani Museum and Gallery in Pacitan. The museum is dedicated to his life and the art gallery contains artworks and songs owned or created by him and his wife Ani Yudhoyono.[79]


According to Democratic Party member Andi Mallarangeng, Yudhoyono liked to paint since his teenage years in Pacitan, but he stopped after joining AKABRI. He restarted his painting hobby after the death of his wife.[80] He also created his own painting studio named SBY Art Studio.[81] His notable artworks include No Justice No Peace (2023).[82][83]


Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is a musician and in his younger days was part of a band called Gaya Teruna. In the 2000s, he has come back to his early love of music by authoring and co-authoring three pop albums.[84][85]

  • In 2007, he released his first music album entitled My Longing for You (English title), a collection of love ballads and religious songs. The 10-song track list features some of the country's popular singers performing the songs.[86]
  • In 2009, he joined forces with Yockie Suryoprayogo under the name "Yockie and Susilo" releasing the album Evolusi.
  • In 2010, he released a new third album entitled I'm Certain I'll Make It (English title)
  • In 2011, he is the producer of Afgan Syahreza's single "Kembali"


  • Yudhoyono, Susilo Bambang (2000). Noeh, Munawar Fuad; Mustofa, Kurdi (eds.). Mengatasi Krisis, Menyelamatkan Reformasi (in Indonesian) (2nd ed.). Jakarta: Pusat Pengkajian Etika Politik dan Pemerintahan. ISBN 979-9357-00-4.
  • Yudhoyono, Susilo Bambang (2004). Taman Kehidupan: Kumpulan Puisi (in Indonesian) (2nd ed.). Jakarta: Yayasan Nida Utama. ISBN 979-96431-8-X.
  • Yudhoyono, Susilo Bambang (2004). Revitalizing Indonesian Economy: Business, Politics, and Good Governance. Bogor: Brighten Press. ISBN 979-96431-5-5.
  • Yudhoyono, Susilo Bambang (2005). Transforming Indonesia: Selected International Speeches (2nd ed.). Jakarta: Office of Special Staff of the President for International Affairs in co-operation with PT Buana Ilmu Populer. ISBN 979-694-876-1.

In popular culture[edit]


National honours[edit]

Gold star
Gold star
Star of the Republic of Indonesia, 1st Class (Indonesian: Bintang Republik Indonesia Adipurna) (27 October 2004)[89] Star of Mahaputera, 1st Class (Indonesian: Bintang Mahaputera Adipurna) (27 October 2004)
Star of Mahaputera, 3rd Class (Indonesian: Bintang Mahaputera Utama) (20 August 1999)[90] Star of Service, 1st Class (Indonesian: Bintang Jasa Utama) (27 October 2004) Star of Humanities (Indonesian: Bintang Kemanusiaan) (18 June 2009) Star of the Upholder of Democracy, 1st Class (Indonesian: Bintang Penegak Demokrasi Utama) (18 June 2009)
Cultural Merit Star (Indonesian: Bintang Budaya Parama Dharma) (27 October 2004)[91] Guerrilla Star (Indonesian: Bintang Gerilya) (27 October 2004) Sacred Star (Indonesian: Bintang Sakti) (27 October 2004) Military Distinguished Service Star (Indonesian: Bintang Dharma) (25 November 1998)
Grand Meritorious Military Order Star, 1st Class (Indonesian: Bintang Yudha Dharma Utama) (27 October 2004) Army Meritorious Service Star, 1st Class (Indonesian: Bintang Bintang Kartika Eka Paksi Utama) (27 October 2004) Navy Meritorious Service Star, 1st Class (Indonesian: Bintang Jalasena Utama) (27 October 2004) Air Force Meritorious Service Star, 1st Class (Indonesian: Bintang Swa Bhuwana Paksa Utama) (27 October 2004)
National Police Meritorious Service Star, 1st Class (Indonesian: Bintang Bhayangkara Utama) (8 August 2001) Grand Meritorious Military Order Star, 2nd Class (Indonesian: Bintang Yudha Dharma Pratama) (22 November 2000) Army Meritorious Service Star, 2nd Class (Indonesian: Bintang Bintang Kartika Eka Paksi Pratama) (9 May 2000) Grand Meritorious Military Order Star, 3rd Class (Indonesian: Bintang Yudha Dharma Nararya) (2 March 2000)
Army Meritorious Service Star, 3rd Class (Indonesian: Bintang Bintang Kartika Eka Paksi Nararya) (23 June 1999) Military Long Service Medal, 24 Years (Indonesian: Satyalancana Kesetiaan) (1998) Military Instructor Service Medal (Indonesian: Satyalancana Dwidya Sistha) (1987) Timor Military Campaign Medal (Indonesian: Satyalancana Seroja) w/ 2 gold star (1979)
Presidential Guard Medal (Indonesian: Satyalancana Wira Siaga) United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) Medal (1996) Military Peacekeeping Medal (Indonesian: Satyalancana Santi Dharma) (1996) United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (UNTAES) Medal (1996)

Foreign honours[edit]

Ribbon Distinction Country Date Reference
Honorary Companion of the Order of Australia (AC)  Australia 9 March 2010 [57]
The Most Esteemed Family Order of Brunei (DK)  Brunei 27 February 2006 [92]
Grand-collar of the Order of Timor-Leste  East Timor 19 May 2012 [93]
Order of the Crown of the Realm (DMN)  Malaysia 11 January 2008 [94]
Grand Companion of the Order of Logohu (GCL)  Papua New Guinea 11 March 2010 [95]
Grand Collar (Raja) of the Order of Sikatuna  Philippines 23 March 2014 [96]
Collar of the Order of Abdulaziz Al Saud  Saudi Arabia 26 April 2006 [97]
Darjah Utama Temasek (First Class) (DUT)  Singapore 3 September 2014 [98]
Grand Order of Mugunghwa  South Korea 19 November 2014 [99]
Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB)  United Kingdom 30 October 2012 [59]


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External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by President of Indonesia
20 October 2004 – 20 October 2014
Succeeded by
Preceded by Coordinating Minister for Political
and Security Affairs

Succeeded by
Preceded by Coordinating Minister for Political,
Social, and Security Affairs

Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Mining and Energy
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Chairman of the Democratic Party
Succeeded by
New political party Democratic Party nominee
for President of Indonesia

2004 (won)
2009 (won)
Succeeded by
Military offices
Preceded by
Commander of Kodam II/Sriwijaya
Succeeded by
Suadi Atma
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by Chairperson of ASEAN
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chairperson of APEC
Succeeded by