Public Thinks President’s Focus on Party Is at Nation’s Expense
Yeremia Sukoyo & Markus Junianto Sihaloho
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s focus on retaking control of his scandal-hit Democratic Party has many Indonesians worrying that he is neglecting duties of his office, a poll suggests.
The results of the poll released by the Indonesian Survey Circle (LSI) on Sunday showed that of 1,200 respondents questioned, 68 percent said they were concerned that Yudhoyono was paying more attention to the party than to his presidency.
Only 24 percent believed that he was not overlooking his responsibilities as president.
The poll, conducted nationwide from Feb. 11 to 14, also found that 78 percent of respondents disapproved of the president getting personally involved in the management of his party, while only 16 percent approved.
Barkah Patimahu, a senior LSI researcher, said the results of the poll, conducted just days after Yudhoyono’s announcement on Feb. 8 that he would be taking over the running of the Democratic Party amid mounting corruption allegations against the chairman, Anas Urbaningrum, highlighted a legitimate fear that national interests were being sacrificed for party interests.
He added that the sacrifice could prove in vain, with 60 percent of respondents saying Yudhoyono’s intervention would do nothing to reverse the Democrats’ declining popularity ahead of the 2014 legislative election.
I Gede Pasek Suardika, a senior Democrat, conceded that the LSI poll highlighted “some very legitimate public concerns.”
“The people are afraid that Yudhoyono isn’t paying attention to the country, but I can assure you that this isn’t the case,” he said on Monday.
“Yudhoyono will always prioritize the interests of the people and the nation above all else.”
Max Sopacua, a Democratic Party deputy chairman, argued that all former presidents going back to Suharto were also responsible for running their respective parties while still in office.
“I think it’s perfectly OK. Yudhoyono is one of the party’s founders so he has a big responsibility,” he said, as quoted by Okezone.com.