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Ex-General keeps big poll lead in campaign JAKARTA - Presidential candidate Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, or SBYA former army general looks set to snatch Indonesia's presidency by a landslide in next week's election run-off, two surveys showed on Wednesday, but incumbent leader Megawati Sukarnoputri insisted she could win. The release of the surveys follows a deadly bomb blast last week outside the Australian embassy in Jakarta, though pollsters were divided over whether heightened security fears would translate into more votes for either candidate on Sept. 20.
A nationwide survey by the Washington-based International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES) showed Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono with 61.2 percent to Megawati's 29.3 percent. Other respondents were undecided or kept their choice secret. Another poll by the independent Indonesian Survey Institute showed Yudhoyono with 57 percent and Megawati 31.5 percent. The IFES poll was done between Sept. 2 and Sept. 9, the latter the date of a suicide bomb blast outside the Australian embassy that killed nine people and wounded more than 180. The other survey was done from Sept. 10-12.
IFES said economic issues rather than security had been the primary concern of voters in Indonesia -- the world's most populous Muslim nation -- where about 40 percent of the work force is unemployed or underemployed. "Creating jobs, keeping prices low, reducing corruption. In every survey we have done (since last year) ... these have been by far and away the most important issues," said IFES Indonesia project manager Alan Wall. "Security issues have been very much lower. I would not expect the bombing to substantially raise the profile of the security issues to the point that they challenge the economic ones," he said.

Terrorism a low priority

The IFES survey showed 30 percent of the 2,000 people polled in 32 provinces thought keeping prices low was the main issue any president should address. Only six percent said improving security should be the primary concern, and only 0.5 percent said the key issue was combating terrorism. The Indonesian Survey Institute said the embassy bomb could benefit Yudhoyono, a former chief security minister who became the public face of Indonesia's fight against its radical Muslim fringe after the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people.
Including Bali, the Australian embassy and last year's blast outside the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, there have been three major bombings in Indonesia on Megawati's watch. "The bomb has not hurt Megawati's credibility yet, but Megawati may have suffered losses because she should have seen an increase of support of more than two percent this month. This trend was impeded by the bomb," a statement said.
The results of both surveys were in line with most previous polls, which have shown Yudhoyono -- who topped the first round of the July 5 presidential election by beating four candidates -- leading by a wide margin. Megawati told reporters outside her home on Wednesday she remained confident victory was within reach, however. "God willing we will win this election," she said.
The official three-day campaign period for Monday's vote kicked off this week with Megawati and Yudhoyono answering questions from academics on their security and political policies in nationally televised broadcasts. Indonesia's election commission has allocated three days for campaigning for the Sept. 20 run-off. More television appearances are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, with the focus on economic and social issues.



Posted in Elections @ 15 September 2004 00:02 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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