INDONESIA’S ELECTIONS

Bernhard Platzdasch

AS INDONESIA gears up for its elections next April, making sense of developments can be a challenge.
Take, for example, the latest election forecasts. In a recent opinion poll, the Indonesian Survey Institute named President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s DemocratsParty (PD) as the leading contender with an approval rating of 16.8 per cent. The party was followed by Vice-President Jusuf Kalla’s Golkar Party with 15.9 per cent and Ms Megawati Sukarnoputri’s Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle (PDI-P) with 14.2 per cent. But several surveys had earlier this year put PDI-P and
Golkar first and second, with PD taking third or fourth place. Another noteworthy difference in the latest survey is the meagre 4.9 per cent for the Islamist Justice and Welfare Party (PKS). Earlier surveys put the PKSshare a few points higher and the party has even claimed that it can achieve some 20 per cent of the total vote.
Without forgetting that the forecasts have limited credibility due to the large number of undecided voters, what conclusions can be drawn from the varying results of these surveys?
First, it is almost certain that no party will secure an outright victory, thus paving the way for yet anotherand again potentially brittlecoalition government. With no party gaining an absolute majority, contenders for the presidential elections in July
will need the endorsement of other parties. As for Dr Yudhoyono, he and Golkar will probably continue their partnership. But Ms Megawati has already made it clear that she is not willing to serve as vice-president. This means a coalition made up of Golkar
and the PDI-P is unlikely.

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