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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
09JAKARTA434
2009-03-12 10:32:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Jakarta
Cable title:  

PRESIDENT'S PARTY IN GOOD POSITION AHEAD OF

Tags:   PGOV  KDEM  ID 
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O 121032Z MAR 09
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1814
INFO ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
USPACOM HONOLULU HI
CIA WASHDC
NSC WASHDC
DIA WASHINGTON DC
						C O N F I D E N T I A L JAKARTA 000434 


DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/MLS, EAP/RSP
NSC FOR E.PHU

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/20/2019
TAGS: PGOV KDEM ID
SUBJECT: PRESIDENT'S PARTY IN GOOD POSITION AHEAD OF
ELECTIONS

REF: JAKARTA 00355 AND PREVIOUS

Classified By: Pol/C Joseph L. Novak, reasons 1.4(b+d).

C O N F I D E N T I A L JAKARTA 000434


DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/MLS, EAP/RSP
NSC FOR E.PHU

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/20/2019
TAGS: PGOV KDEM ID
SUBJECT: PRESIDENT'S PARTY IN GOOD POSITION AHEAD OF
ELECTIONS

REF: JAKARTA 00355 AND PREVIOUS

Classified By: Pol/C Joseph L. Novak, reasons 1.4(b+d).


1. (C) SUMMARY: Based on public opinion surveys and what we
are hearing, President Yudhoyono's Partai Demokrat (PD) is
performing very strongly as Indonesia heads towards its April
9 national legislative elections. There remains a real
question whether the party has the grassroots network needed
to get voters to the polls, however. Well-established
secular-leaning parties (Golkar, PDI-P) trail, but remain
strong contenders. Islamic parties are far behind. The
battle at this point is for the large pool of undecided
voters. Big rallies and marches start March 16, the
beginning of the all-out campaign season. END SUMMARY.

PRESIDENT'S PARTY IN LEAD


2. (C) President Yudhoyono's party seems to be in very good
shape ahead of the April 9 parliamentary elections. A group
of highly reputable, independent institutes released a survey
on March 11 which indicated that PD, with 21.5 percent
support, is leading Golkar and the Indonesian Party of
Democratic Struggle (PDI-P). Respondents were highly
satisfied with both PD and President Yudhoyono's performance
in government. Considering that PD garnered only 7 percent
of the national vote in the 2004 legislative elections, most
observers believe that obtaining even 15 percent of the
national vote on Election Day for PD would be a remarkable
success for a party only formed earlier this decade. And, if
PD wins over 20% of the seats, President Yudhoyono would be
in the driver's seat ahead of the July presidential elections
(in order to be nominated for the presidency, a candidate
must get at least 25% of the vote in the Legislative election
at least 20% of seats in Parliament.

QUESTIONS ABOUT PD'S ORGANIZATION


3. (C) That said, questions remain about the capabilities of
the PD organization. In a number of recent trips, observers
have told Pol/C that PD is strong due to its effective
television ads and its link with President Yudhoyono, who is
very popular, but that its grassroots outreach campaign is
still not up to snuff.


4. (C) During March 11 meetings in Serang, Banten (a city

near Jakarta), for example, Pol/C was told that the local PD
organization--headed by a former general who was in
Yudhoyono's military academy graduating class--was growing in
capabilities and outreach. At the same time, however, the PD
organization in Banten Province still did not have as many
campaign workers and volunteers on the ground as some of the
other major parties. Given that elections in Indonesia often
involve a dose of "money politics" and the development of
close links between candidates and voters, a mediocre ground
game could be problematic for PD on Election Day.

ESTABLISHED PARTIES SEEM TO BE IN SOLID POSITION


5. (C) PD's two major contenders trail, but are still in the
hunt. Former president Megawati Sukarnoputri's party, the
populist PDI-P, is runner up in the latest survey at 15.5
percent. With well-developed grassroots outreach and
historical resonance (Megawati is the daughter of Indonesia's
first president), it is likely to perform relatively well on
April 9.


6. (C) Vice President Kalla's Golkar party, the largest
party in the Parliament (DPR)--with 23 percent of the
seats--is currently at 14.27 percent. Despite Golkar's
seeming decline in popularity, this is still a respectable
showing and some observers think the party will do better on
Election Day due to its strong organization. Recent
speculation that VP Kalla might run as president (see reftel)
may be aimed at reviving voter interest in the party.

ISLAMIC-ORIENTED PARTIES FAR BEHIND


7. (C) Islamic parties are distant contenders at this point.
The United Development Party (PPP) is the third largest
party in Parliament, but received just 4.15 percent of
support in the recent poll (it received 8.15 percent support
in the 2004 election). According to a PPP source, it lacks
the funds for a robust media campaign. Observers also
expected PKS, an Islamic-oriented party strongly rooted in
various parts of the country, to do quite well in this
election. However, PKS is also polling poorly at just over 4
percent.

ALL OUT CAMPAIGN SET TO BEGIN MARCH 16


8. (C) Campaign activities have been in swing for months
(Indonesian cities and towns are already festooned with
campaign posters). Per regulation, however, the official
campaign season featuring rallies, marches and banners, opens
on March 16. The last several weeks of the campaign will be
hectic as parties battle for votes. Almost a quarter of
Indonesian voters remain undecided, for example, and parties
will focus on those voters. Based on the polls and what we
are hearing, PD seems to be in a very strong position for
now. Nonetheless, it will have to overcome a nascent
grassroots structure in order to translate its lead in the
surveys to a victory at the polls.


HEFFERN