JAKARTA - Indonesia's president has stepped in to take over his ruling party, so damaged by a series of corruption scandals that even its senior members concede it faces a rout in elections next year.

One of his ministers was felled in December after being named as a suspect in a bribery investigation by a powerful anti-corruption agency which has in recent months sunk its teeth into several politicians, including top members of the country's most successful Muslim-based party.

The latest issue surrounds the chairman of the ruling Democrat Party, Anas Urbaningrum, who has been linked to a graft case surrounding the construction of a sports stadium, and whom President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono effectively pushed from his post on Friday night following his return from an overseas trip.

"While I am sorting things out ... I am giving (Anas) time to focus on his KPK (Corruption Eradication Agency) legal case," Yudhoyono told reporters at his home on Friday night.

However, the president said Anas remained party chairman, counter to what media have said was a strong push by senior party members to have Anas ousted completely and try to repair the party's tattered image.

Indonesia has long been listed as among the world's most graft-ridden societies.

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