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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs    9 August  2012

Graft cases to hurt Indonesia's ruling party in 2014: poll


Several corruption cases implicating politicians from the Indonesian ruling Democratic Party will persuade voters to abandon President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's political machine, according to a survey.

The poor performance of Yudhoyono's administration is another reason why voters will shift their allegiance to other political parties.

The July 8-22 survey conducted by the Trust Indonesia Survey Institute (LSTI) found a large number of (swing) voters would shift their support to other political parties as the Democratic Party has been rocked by a string of graft scandals.

LSTI executive director Zudan Rosyidi said that a sizeable chunk of Democratic Party supporters would switch to other parties due primarily to corruption issues, internal conflicts and the government's poor performance.

"Despite these issues, however, the Democratic Party will be the second-favourite party after its coalition partner Golkar Party. The opposition Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle [PDI-P] and the National Awakening Party [PKB] will be in third and fourth position, respectively," Rosyidi told the press yesterday in Jakarta.

Rosyidi added that 5.2 per cent, or 104 respondents, put Prabowo Subianto's Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) in fifth place, above the Islamic-based Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), with the newly established National Democratic (Nasdem) Party in seventh, just above the National Mandate Party (PAN) in the ranking.

LSTI is a new survey institution established by experts from Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta and Airlangga University in Surabaya, East Java.

According to the survey, which received feedback from 1,996 respondents in 20 sample villages across all 33 provinces, 269 or 13.5 per cent would vote for Golkar; 11.6 per cent for the Democrats; 9.7 per cent for the PDI-P; 6.2 per cent for the PKB; and 5.2 per cent for Gerindra.

Democratic Party politicians have been implicated in a number of corruption cases, mainly in connection with the development of sports facilities in Hambalang, Bogor, West Java and in Palembang, South Sumatra.

Other politicians are implicated in projects supervised by the Health Ministry, the Education and Culture Ministry and the Manpower and Transmigration Ministry.

Intensive investigations into these cases have triggered internal conflicts in the party.

Muhammad Nazaruddin was the first to fall from grace when he was removed from his post as the party's treasurer and later dismissed from the party altogether after claiming that party chairman Anas Urbaningrum had also accepted money to pay supporters during the party congress in Bandung, West Java in 2010.

The survey's results are in line with others gathered by the Indonesian Survey Circle and the Indonesian Survey Institution, which reported a rise in Golkar's electability in the upcoming 2014 general election.

But Rosyidi said the general decline in support for the big parties seemed to relate to their poor performance in the past three years. It would be a chance for newcomers, like the Nasdem Party, to intensify their political campaigns to secure a large number of votes in 2014.

When respondents were asked in the survey about their choices in the 2009 general election, Rosyidi said, only 375 or 18.8 per cent said they had voted for the Democratic Party; 2 per cent lower than the party's real performance (20.8 per cent) as it was announced by the General Elections Commission.

However, a number of respondents reportedly declined to answer the question about their 2009 voting choices.

The survey also found that the majority of voters (78.83 per cent) would exercise their voting rights, while 3.1 per cent had yet to decide whether to vote or to abstain.

"The number of abstainers is expected to be small, as only 13.16 per cent of respondents said they would not vote if a general election was held during the survey," Rosyidi said.

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