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15 September 2021 (closed)
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According to a new survey, the Democratic Party (Partai Demokrat), the political vehicle of president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, is increasingly losing popular support. The survey indicates that currently only 7.1 percent of respondents will vote for the Democratic Party in next year's legislative elections. The survey was conducted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and involved 1,635 respondents from 31 provinces. In combination with results of earlier surveys in the last 12 months, it shows declining support for the party.
If the Democratic Party does not succeed in improving its reputation soon, then the party is most likely to become the biggest loser in the elections of 2014. Golkar (closely connected to former president Suharto) is now the most popular party according to the CSIS survey, having 13.2 percent of respondents' votes. On second place comes the PDI-P (also one of the traditional big political parties in Indonesia) with 12.7 percent. The most popular Islamic-based party is now the National Mandate Party (PAN) with 4.0 percent. However, 40 percent of the respondents said not to have decided yet on which party to vote for next year.
The Democratic Party (PD) was primarily established to function as Yudhoyono's political vehicle on his path towards the Indonesian presidency. It propagates democracy, pluralism and the professionalization of the army (Yudhoyono himself being a retired army general). Yudhoyono, being regarded as a strong and balanced character, took office in 2004 with ambitious reformist ideals such as the toppling of corruption and terrorism, the strengthening of democracy and human rights, and the fostering of accelerated economic growth.
The parliamentary elections for the DPR (People’s Representative Council) and DPD (Regional Representative Council), held on 9 April 2009, proved a clear victory for Yudhoyono's PD party (20.8 percent), while Golkar came in second (14.4 percent) and the PDI-P third (14.0 percent). Factors that contributed to this victory of the PD were massive cash programs to support the poor and declining food and fuel prices which contributed to the notion that the national economy was performing well. The public also considered Yudhoyono to be sincere in toppling corruption; the PD was known as the least corrupted political party.
But despite strong macroeconomic indicators, popular support for Yudhoyono has begun to erode. Yudhoyono did not meet expectations in toppling corruption, an important campaign slogan of his party. High corruption cases involving government staff made frequent headlines. More severely, the PD itself became deeply involved in corruption scandals when several of its members, including party treasurer Muhammad Nazaruddin, were found guilty of being involved in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games graft case in which bribes were paid in connection with the construction of the athletes’ village. These scandals severely harmed both Yudhoyono's and his party's popularity. Former chairman Anas Urbaningrum is still suspected of taking a bribe in relation with the construction of the Hambalang sports complex.
The future of the PD remains uncertain. Popular support is declining fast and as Yudhoyono is not allowed to participate in the 2014 elections, a new candidate(s) for the party's leadership is needed but is yet to be found. The name of Gita Wirjawan, currently minister of Trade, is often mentioned as a potential presidential candidate for the Democratic Party. Wirjawan is a 'professional' who is not affiliated with any party yet but has announced to be ready to become one of the candidates for the presidency.