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SBY still popular despite a year of tough decisions JAKARTA - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono remains a popular president, with 63 percent of Indonesians satisfied with his performance in running the country, a new survey shows. Similarly, 58 percent of the people were satisfied with Vice President Jusuf Kalla's performance, the survey released on Thursday by the Indonesian Research Institute (LSI) says.

The survey was completed in late September, before people were affected by the fuel price hikes and before the latest Bali bombs last weekend. There was, however, a marked decline in Susilo's approval rating in the latest survey -- from 80 percent for Susilo and 77 percent for Kalla in their post-election honeymoon period in the same survey last November.

Most people said they were still satisfied with the performance of the Susilo-Kalla administration in handling political and legal affairs, as well as security and social welfare issues. Most of the 1,137 people from 33 provinces interviewed in the survey said the administration had done a good job in combating crime (76.8 percent), eradicating corruption (65.1 percent), settling problems with the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) (75.9 percent), health programs (70 percent) and education (74.7) percent.

The majority of people, however, were not happy with the government's performance in the economy, with only 24 percent of population saying that the national economic situation was better today than it was last year. Almost half of the population, or 47 percent, believed the economy had worsened in the past year. Negative sentiment was at the highest for the past two years. In October 2003, only 41 percent of those surveyed said they believed the economy had worsened.

Just over half of the population said the government had done a bad job in controlling rupiah's value, with 66.1 percent condemning the way it handled the fuel prices in reaction to the international fuel price hike. The majority of the people also strongly criticized the government's efforts to guarantee fuel supplies and reduce unemployment and poverty rates.

With all the economic problems, only 42 percent of the respondents thought the economy would be better off in the year to come, with 24 percent saying the situation would not change and 15 percent thinking it would get worse. Political analyst J.B. Kristiadi, from the Centre of Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), said that considering the mountain of challenges faced by the Susilo-Kalla administration from the beginning, the people should be more realistic in judging its performance.

"A lot of tragedies occurred, such as the tsunami disaster and the recent Bali bombings. On the other hand, there are problems inherited from the previous administrations, including an ineffective political system and challenges from legislators," he told a discussion on the survey on Thursday. Meanwhile, Institute for the Development of the Economy and Finance director (INDEF) Iman Sugema said the nation's economic indicators had worsened during the past year, with declining growth rates of exports, imports and investment, while the numbers of poor and unemployed people had increased.

"The team of economic ministers have been really weak at handling the economic problems. We're now in the middle of a crisis," Iman said.



Posted in Politics @ 07 October 2005 14:38 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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