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Indonesia Leader Popular Despite Economy, Law Issues | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono remains popular despite a perceived lack of progress on the economy and law enforcement, a poll released on Thursday showed.

The Indonesian Survey Institute said 67 per cent of more than 1,200 people it polled earlier this month were satisfied with the former general’s performance in his two years in office.

Yudhoyono has been credited with disrupting Islamic militants who mounted deadly attacks in the Southeast Asian nation between 2002 and 2005. His approval ratings have also benefited from a pro-business stance and weak opposition, the institute said.

“This popularity rating is an indicator of the strong legitimacy of (Yudhoyono’s) leadership and it should serve as political capital to lead the country out of the myriad problems,” the pollster said. Indonesia’s challenges include massive unemployment and underemployment, widespread corruption and disputes over whether to impose Islamic-style law in the overwhelmingly Muslim country, the world’s fourth most populous.

Yudhoyono won Indonesia’s first direct presidential vote in October 2004 on a pledge to root out corruption, seen as endemic, reduce poverty and uphold the rule of law.

But this latest survey also revealed that most respondents were unhappy with the economic situation with only a third saying conditions had improved this year. Just 43 per cent said the government had done a good job in enforcing law, but 58 per cent said the security situation was good.

While Indonesia has seen 17 terrorist bombings in 2006, there have been no deaths, compared to 19 blasts and 49 dead in 2005.

Political analyst Sukardi Rinakit said the poll’s finding was bad news for the opposition.

“People still see Yudhoyono as a better alternative to the others,” Rinakit told Reuters.