Former Supporters Turning Backs on Graft-Hit Democrats: Survey
It’s not the economy, nor the president’s performance that has Indonesian voters down on the party they once favored. Rather, corruption is at the heart of the ruling Democratic Party’s declining popularity, a local consultancy has found.
Grace Natalie of Saiful Mujani Research & Consulting said the party could potentially see almost two-thirds of its voters throw their support behind another party in the 2014 presidential and legislative elections.
“If the election were conducted at the moment, as many as 61.1 percent of respondents that voted for the Democratic Party in the 2009 [election] would no longer vote for the blue party,” Grace said, as quoted by Investor Daily.
She said the survey data indicated that most respondents were aware that many of the party’s standard bearers have been implicated in graft investigations over the last few years.
“It is proven here that the [problem] that has consumed the party is not political scandal, nor poor economic performance or the president’s performance,” Grace said.
The firm’s polling found that if the election were held today, the Golkar Party would likely win with 14 percent of voters, followed by the opposition Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) with 9 percent and the Democratic Party (8 percent).
The survey was conducted from Sept. 5 to 16, polling some 1,219 respondents across all 33 provinces.
Hayono Isman, a member of the Democratic Party’s board of patrons, acknowledged that graft had burdened the party and sullied its image.
“This makes us sad, as we were born as a clean party that says no to corruption, but has lost credibility because of corruption cases that are widely spread,” Hayono said.
Senior party official Sutan Batoegana said he understood the Democrats’ challenges, claiming that it is common for the ruling party to be attacked and made to pay for the deeds of its troubled members.
“Every time Nazaruddin tweets, it hits the Democratic Party,” Sutan said on Monday, referring to Muhammad Nazaruddin, perhaps the party’s most high-profile graft convict. “Anyway, let’s appreciate the survey to remind us to work. Trust us, we’ll recover.”
Meanwhile, the head of the Democratic Party’s Bali chapter, Made Mudarta, suggested on Saturday that music might be the answer to the nation’s graft woes by proposing the creation of a song competition.
“We’ve told this to the House [of Representative] speaker and he promised to tell the Ministry of Education and Culture,” Mudarta said, adding that the winning song should be considered a national anthem of sorts.
“We’ll try to mobilize a national fight against corruption with an anticorruption song or honesty song,” he said. “If it is necessary, there should be a regulation that it is mandatory for schools and society to sing it.”