Indonesian president to end term on low note

Indonesian president to end term on low note

INDONESIA - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will enter his last year in office on Monday knowing that only about 40 per cent of his people approve of his performance, according to the latest opinion poll.

With the general elections due to be held in less than six months' time and with campaigning set to begin in January 2014, the ruling government is running out of time to alter public perception.

A survey by the Pol-Tracking Institute, released on Sunday, shows that most people think the President has made no significant progress since he was elected for a second term on Oct. 20 four years ago.

According to the study, only 40 per cent of the 2,010 respondents from 33 provinces said they were satisfied with the government's performance, while 59.5 per cent were far more critical, citing soaring prices of staples, high unemployment, the high cost of education and health care as well as poor infrastructure.

By way of contrast, Yudhoyono's approval rating stood at 54.5 per cent in April according to a survey conducted by Kompas daily, and 51 per cent in June, according to the National Survey Institute (LSN).

Yudhoyono is barred from seeking a third term by the Constitution, but some of his family members, including his brother-in-law, Pramono Edhie Wibowo, have entered the political arena to help him retain his clout.

With his party now languishing after being hit with a slew of damaging graft scandals, his declining popularity deals yet another blow to Yudhoyono.

Pol-Tracking's executive director, Hanta Yuda, said it would be difficult for Yudhoyono to turn the tables with the election only months away, and many of his ministers from his coalition partners too busy preparing for the polls. "Four of the ministers are chairmen of political parties. It is unthinkable that they will not do whatever it takes to have their parties win the election," he said.

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