[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific

Head of Indonesia's ruling party steps down

Anas Urbaningrum resigns a day after country's anti-corruption watchdog accuses him of receiving illegal payments.
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2013 15:27
Urbaningrum says he only stepped down as part of the Democratic Party's 'integrity pact' [Reuters]

A day after the Indonesia's anti-corruption commission named him as a suspect in a case, the head of the country's ruling party has resigned.

Anas Urbaningrum, who was elected in 2010 as general chairman of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's Democratic Party, announced his resignation on Saturday in a news conference at the party's headquarters.

The Corruption Eradication Commission declared Urbaningrum, 43, on Friday a suspect, accusing him of receiving payments in connection with the construction of a sports complex in West Java province.

The commission did not specify what kind of payments were allegedly received by Urbaningrum.

Media speculation

Media reports say a contractor gave Urbaningrum a car worth about $75,000 while he was a legislator and head of the party's faction in parliament before being elected as party chairman.

"I resign as general chairman of the Democratic Party," Urbaningrum said, noting that his decision was based on the party's standard of ethics.

Urbaningrum's resignation was widely expected as all Democratic Party officials had recently signed an "integrity pact" to give up their posts if named a corruption suspect.

Urbaningrum, who has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, could face a minimum sentence of four years in jail if found guilty.

Party members were scheduled to meet on Sunday to decide on a new chairman.

Recent cases

The case is the latest blow to the party's reputation and to Yudhoyono, who ran as the Mr Clean of Indonesian politics in his 2009 re-election campaign.

Late last year, another party official, sports minister Andi Mallarangeng, was named a suspect in a corruption case involving the same $122m sports complex in Hambalang village.

A former beauty queen and Democratic Party legislator, Angelina Sondakh, was sentenced last month to four and a half years in jail after being found guilty of accepting $3.6m in kickbacks in connection with construction of a housing complex for athletes at the 2011 Southeast Asian Games.

Last year, Muhammad Nazaruddin, Democratic Party treasurer, was sentenced to four years in jail for corruption.

Last December Indonesia slid to 118th of 176 countries ranked by Transparency International's annual index, which rates the least to the most corrupt states.

348

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.