Fri, 25 Feb 2000

Gus Dur goes on amid poor personal, government image: Poll

JAKARTA (JP): A recent poll conducted in five major cities by the Center for the Study of Development and Democracy (CESDA) indicates that most urban dwellers are wary of President Abdurrahman Wahid's indecisive attitude, but still believe he will survive his presidential tenure till 2004.

"Most of the negative opinions the public hold concern his inconsistencies, aimless talk and stubbornness," CESDA's executive director Naning Mardiani said.

The poll was conducted between Jan. 31 and Feb. 15 in Jakarta, Surabaya, Medan, Banjarmasin and Makassar.

It was conducted through face-to-face interviews with 1,247 people.

Some 73 percent of respondents regarded Abdurrahman's habit of changing his policies as an unfavorable one for a president. They were also divided over whether Abdurrahman's tendency to joke and quip was a suitable for a president.

When queried about Vice President Megawati Soekarnoputri, most respondents generally gave more positive responses.

More than 60 percent rejected the suggestion that she was not intelligent. She received overwhelming support when people were asked if she had charisma and patience as a leader.

More than 80 percent of respondents doubted the government's ability to conclude the alleged corruption case against former president Soeharto in the coming six months.

Despite the generally negative responses, the poll still showed a general trust in the government, with 54.9 percent of respondents believing the government will see out its full term.

Besides evaluating the government, the poll also questioned respondents about the prospect of national disintegration and civil-military and state-citizen relations.

A majority of those responding stated they did not agree with any part of the country breaking away from Indonesia, including Aceh and Irian Jaya.

An overwhelming 74.4 percent said they did not agree with the proposal of turning Indonesia into a federal state.

"Most of the respondents want nationalism to be the basis of state principles instead of religion," Naning said, adding that this was reflective of the results in last year's general election.

The elections resulted in the major national political parties of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-Perjuangan), the Golkar Party and the National Awakening Party (PKB) finishing as the top three parties, in contrast to religiously-based ones. (jun)