Saturday, May 19, 2007

Survey finds President's popularity on the wane

Wednesday, March 28, 2007
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Public support for President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has dropped to 49 percent, the lowest in his two-and-a-half years in office, a survey revealed Tuesday.

The survey, run by the Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI), shows that the public has little confidence in the President's performance in the economic sector.

"The main trigger in the drop of confidence is the current economic situation, which is seen by voters as worse than that of last year," said Saiful Mujani, the director of LSI.

The survey also shows that seven out of 10 Indonesians said that no political party represents their interests.

The survey, held from March 14 to March 24 in 33 provinces with 1,238 respondents, shows that only about 35 percent of voters said that the parties represent their interests.

Of the leading parties, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) was seen as the party with the smallest gap between voter expectations and party achievement, while the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) was seen as the party with the biggest gap in relation to the people's interests.

"Voters perceive the political parties as only making decisions for the sake of the party and the interests of party leaders, but not in the interests of their constituents," said Saiful.

Only about 31 percent of voters said parties adequately reflected the differences in social classes. Among the seven big parties, the PDI-P was seen as the party with the widest scope of class representation, while the National Mandate Party (PAN) was seen as the least representative of the social spectrum.

About 45 percent perceived the parties as representing the ideology of Pancasila and the Constitution, with the PDI-P regarded as the party with the highest level of commitment to Pancasila, while the PKS and the United Development Party were seen as having the lowest level of commitment to the ideology.

Nine out of 10 voters said no party represented their views on the privatization of state-owned enterprises.

"If any party says that the disagreement between them and the voters about state enterprises is because the voters don't understand the issues, that means that they have failed to persuade the public that privatization is the realistic way toward improving the nation's economic health," said Saiful.

Most of the voters regarded the rice importation policy as a good way to stabilize prices. About 34 percent perceived the political parties as not representing their aspirations in relation to this issue. The PKS and PAN were seen as the least representative.

The voters were divided in their perceptions of foreign investment in the mining sector. Some 50 percent totally rejected foreign investment, while the rest accepted some level of foreign investment, saying that the country had limited human resources and funds. However, only 29 percent of voters said that parties represented their opinions on the issue.

In relation to all issues, the PDI-P has the lowest gap in representing the people's interests, at 59 percent, while the PKS and the Democratic Party were rated at 69 percent. (02)

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