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Asia

Graft case prompts Indonesian resignation

A probe into a sports center project by Indonesia's Corruption Eradication Commission has prompted the resignation of the chairman of Indonesia's ruling party. Anas Urbaningrum denies receiving kickback payments.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s 2009 re-election slogan "Mr. Clean" took a knock on Saturday when the head of his ruling Democratic Party (DP) quit after being named as a further suspect in a corruption case.

"I quit as the chairman of the Democratic Party," said Urbaningrum (pictured above) at a press conference in Jakarta while vowing to fight the charges.

His resignation had been widely expected. DP officials recently signed an "integrity pact" to give up their posts if named as graft suspects.

Popularity slump

The ruling DP slumped to just eight percent in surveys in December from 21 percent in 2009, when Yudhoyono was re-elected with a landslide vote. Indonesia's next elections are due in 2014.

State auditors say many irregularities surrounded the Hambalang sports complex, near Jakarta, resulting in $25 million (18.9 million euro) in state losses, due in part to a questionable tendering process.

In December, sports minister Andi Mallarangeng resigned after being named a suspect in the same case. Former party treasurer Muhammad Nazaruddin was jailed last April for nearly five years over a separate sports graft case.

Transparency International's index of the least to the most corrupt nation ranks Indonesia 118th among 176 countries.

ipj/slk (AFP, AP, dpa)