‘Ambassador Fauzi’ Not Proving Popular

The Jakarta Globe, 26 Oktober 2013



By Ari Susanto


Solo: Opposition to the appointment of Fauzi Bowo, the former Jakarta governor, as Indonesia’s ambassador to Germany continues to mount, with a group in Berlin urging German President Joachim Gauck to reject Fauzi’s credentials. In a press release on Friday, the Indonesian Embassy Care Alliance said its letter to Gauck described Fauzi’s track record as worrying and listed the reasons for its disapproval of his being named the country’s main envoy to Europe’s biggest economy.

“We thought that the German government should be informed for balance about Fauzi Bowo and his track record as the former leader of Indonesia’s capital, before they decide to give him a letter of accreditation as the Indonesian ambassador in Berlin,” said Erwin Sutanto, the coordinator of the alliance. He said his group was disappointed by Fauzi’s smear campaign in his ultimately failed bid for re-election in 2012. Resorting to dirty tricks, including racial and religious slurs against Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, now the deputy governor, showed that Fauzi was incapable of being the representative for a pluralistic and multicultural society like Indonesia, the alliance argued. It also said that under Fauzi’s watch, hard-line groups had flourished in Jakarta, increasing the threat of intolerance and violence against minority groups. The alliance has also launched a petition on Change.org, which 638 people have signed, both in Indonesia and Germany. “President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono once said Fauzi had achieved nothing, so why did he appoint him to be the ambassador to Germany? Is it not an embarrassing choice?” said Dina Sihombing, an Indonesian living in Berlin. The Indonesian Students Association in Germany also took issue with the appointment when it was made last month. However, the former governor has received the blessing of former president B.J. Habibie, an honorary German citizen. The two men are also German university alumni and speak German.

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