Sat, 23 Aug 2003

Popularity of PDI Perjuangan dips, own survey reveals

Fabiola Desy Unidjaja, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The embattled ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) has been ditched by more than a third of its supporters, a damning survey has revealed.

The survey from the party's now defunct research agency shows that only 21.2 percent of the 2,500 respondents polled in 16 provinces will vote for it next year. The 16 provinces include Java island, Bali and other party strongholds.

PDI Perjuangan won the most votes, 34 percent, in the 1999 elections.

"That shows that people no longer trust us, there is too much disappointment among the constituents," former agency secretary Sukowaluyo Mintoraharjo told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

The survey shows that it will be difficult for the party to win the 2004 election.

"We can only regain people's confidence if the party changes its leadership style," Sukowaluyo said after releasing the results of the survey.

The survey was conducted between May and June this year, following a number of conflicts between party members in the election of regional heads across the country.

PDI Perjuangan chairwoman, President Megawati Soekarnoputri, has often been at odds with her constituents in choosing local leaders, including governors, creating resentment among her supporters.

"We feel that our grassroots supporters have left us, that's why we conducted the survey," Sukowaluyo said.

The agency recommends four steps to improve the party's performance, namely: Megawati hold heart to heart discussions with all factions within the party to settle grievances between them; Megawati delegate her authority as chairwoman to a caretaker as she is too busy in her capacity as president; Strengthen the performance of the executive board; the party branches should improve their performance to ensure a victory in the upcoming elections.