Yogyakarta Sultan Gets Local Legislators’ Blessing on New Term
Yogyakarta legislators affirmed a new era for some old faces on Friday, declaring Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X and Paku Alam IX the province’s next governor and deputy governor at a plenary meeting.
“Sultan and Paku Alam have been officially declared as governor and deputy governor of Yogyakarta for 2012-2017,” the speaker of the Yogyakarta legislative council (DPRD) said on Friday, as quoted by Antara news agency. “All members of DPRD Yogyakarta who attended the plenary meeting have agreed on the decision.”
The Sultan has served as governor of Yogyakarta since 1998, but recent discussions out of Jakarta had threatened to upend the province’s monarchy rule.
In a plenary session speech laying out his vision and mission, the Sultan said he had long-term aspirations of making the province Indonesia’s educational and cultural center.
“Beside [these things, Yogyakarta] should also be a well-known tourism destination in Southeast Asia,” the Sultan said.
Following the DPRD’s unanimous decision, the Sultan will await the approval of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who will then preside over the Sultan’s inauguration. That ceremony is scheduled for Oct. 9.
Last month, the House of Representatives passed a law affirming that the Sultan would automatically become governor of the province. The national government had wanted Yogyakarta’s governor and deputy governor to be elected, as in all other provinces, but locals pointed to the special status of the region awarded by founding President Sukarno in return for its services to the young Indonesian republic.
At the peak of the tensions, Yogyakarta residents staged rallies demanding that the region break away from Indonesia. Given the strong resistance, the central government eventually softened its stance.
Analysts have praised the 66-year-old Sultan as an able governor, with the province of more than 3.5 million people seeing rising economic prosperity since he took office in 1998.
Under his rule, Yogyakarta remains one of Indonesia’s wealthiest and most religiously tolerant provinces. Muslim minority sects such as the Ahmadiyah have sought refuge in the semi-autonomous province.