Most Indonesians Don’t Want SBY to Chair the Democratic Party: Survey

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, right, flanked by Parliament Speaker Marzuki Ali, arrives at the parliament building for his annual state of the nation speech in this file photo. (Reuters Photo)

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, right, flanked by Parliament Speaker Marzuki Ali, arrives at the parliament building for his annual state of the nation speech in this file photo. (Reuters Photo)

Most Indonesians do not approve the idea for President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to be elected as the new Democratic Party chairman to replace the ousted Anas Urbaningrum, according to a survey released on Friday.

The National Survey Institute, or LSN, found that only 10.2 percent of the 1,230 respondents surveyed from 33 provinces thought it was a good idea for Yudhoyono to take over as the leader of the party, to repair its tainted image after a string of graft scandals involving its senior politicians, Indonesian news portal Detik.com reported.

The survey found 77.4 percent of the respondents did not think Yudhoyono was the right figure to lead the party.

The majority of respondents said Yudhoyono should focus on his job as a president while some others said that taking over the party’s leadership would make the president an inconsistent figure, because he had publicly criticized his ministers for spending too much time managing their party instead of focusing on the cabinet duties.

The survey found that House of Representatives speaker Marzuki Ali was the favorite to replace Anas, who was named a suspect by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in the Hambalang sport center graft scandal.

Meanwhile, State Enterprises Minister Dahlan Iskan was favored as the new chairman among the other non-cadre candidates including the Supreme Court chief Mahfud MD and the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Djoko Suyanto. Dahlan was chosen by 19.8 percent of the respondents.

Tri Dianto, the former head of the party’s chapter in Cilacap, Central Java, who resigned shortly after Anas was declared a suspect by the KPK, told the Jakarta Globe that he had challenged Yudhoyono to compete fairly against other candidates in the party’s extraordinary congress, which will be held in Bali on Saturday.

“I just want to enhance the democracy in this party, why do everything has to be about SBY?” he said.

Tri said the massive support for Yudhoyono from the party’s factions was a sad development which could hinder the party’s effort to clean its tainted reputation.

“It’s as if they put Yudhoyono as a God, it’s not a good thing because it will prevent the party from developing,’ he said.

Tri claimed he had gathered support from nearly 200 heads of the party’s chapter and said that he was qualified to contest as the new chairman because he had worked for the party for eight years.

“I only resigned from my position as the head of the party’s chapter but until today I’m still a legal cadre of the party and I have received no dismissal letter,” he said.

Yudhoyono effectively took over the running of the party in early February from Anas, as it appeared increasingly certain that the chairman was set to be named a criminal suspect.

The president, who founded the party and serves as the chairman of its board of advisers and high council, is the latest member of his family to be touted as the next chairman.

Senior Democrats were last week calling for Ani Yudhoyono, the first lady, to lead the party, and before that her son, Edhie Baskoro, who is also the party’s secretary general.

Calls have also come for Gen. Pramono Edhie Wibowo, the Army chief of staff and Ani’s brother, to be nominated, although Pramono and top party officials have played down the possibility.