Big potential for youth leaders to come forward

Kompas – October 15, 2007
Banner reads 'Reject the Elections as a Motion of Distrust' (Tempo)
Banner reads 'Reject the Elections as a Motion of Distrust' (Tempo)

Jakarta – In the midst of the current decline in the popularity of national leaders, a potential for the emergence of new leaders is opening up. According to a survey conducted by the Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI), out of 1,300 respondents as many as 35 percent do not yet know who they would vote for if a presidential election was held today.

Old names such as President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and former President Megawati Sukarnoputri, who obtained the highest percentage in the survey, still only got 28 and 19 percent respectively. In addition to this, the survey also showed that although Yudhoyono surpassed his rivals, electoral sentiment towards him over the last year has tended to decline from 68 percent in October 2006 to 66 percent in October 2007.

This indicates that although Yudhoyono’s position is not that strong, the public does not yet see any better alternatives. The results of the survey also show that other names such as former military chief retired General Wiranto, Vice President Jusuf Kalla, Yogyakarta Governor Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X and former Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso are for the moment, not seen as a viable alternative.

When contacted on Sunday October 14, the executive director of The Indonesian Institute, Anies Baswedan said that these result could show that a potential for the emergence of new leaders, particularly among the young, is opening up. “Thirty-five percent of respondents have yet to decide on a choice”, he said.

Contacted separately, a researcher from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), Indria Samego, said that in order to optimise the emergence of new leaders it would be best of the old leaders withdraw. “They don’t need to come forward again”, he said.

If other long-term leaders such as former President Abdurrahman Wahid, Megawati and Amien Rais are nominated again, youth from the National Awakening Party, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle and the National Mandate Party will of course be reluctant to put themselves forward. Whereas said Samego, there are lots of young leaders with potential. “The old ones should be sensible”, said Samego. (JOS)

[Translated by James Balowski.]