Indonesia President Joko Widodo's approval rating surges as economy remains top concern

Indonesia's President Joko Widodo attends an ASEAN leaders summit in Bangkok, on Nov 3, 2019. His approval rating has surged, with the majority of voters satisfied with the performance of his top ministers. PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA (BLOOMBERG) - Indonesian President Joko Widodo's approval rating has surged early in his second term, with the majority of the voters satisfied with the performance of his top ministers, according to a survey.

His government's approval rating stood at 70.1 per cent in the first 100 days of his second five-year term, compared with 57.5 per cent during the same period in 2015, independent surveyor Indo Barometer said in a statement.

The voters were most satisfied with the country's democratic processes, including freedom of speech and liberty to choose leaders in the world's fourth-largest populous nation, the surveyor said.

The high approval rating should allow Joko, better known as Jokowi, to push ahead with sweeping economic reforms meant to boost investment and create jobs for the millions of unemployed in South-east Asia's largest economy. The president has initiated steps to overhaul the nation's rigid labour laws, lower the corporate tax rate and build a new capital to ease pressure on a congested and sinking Jakarta.

The approval for Joko's Cabinet rose to 54.4 per cent from 46.8 per cent in the first term as key ministers scored on delivering results, choice of the right people for the job and experience, Barometer said.

Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto, who was inducted into the Cabinet after losing out to Joko in the presidential race for a second time, had the highest approval rating, followed by Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati and State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir.

Economy, employment, prices of staple food and corruption remained the top concern for voters according to the survey of 1,200 nationwide respondents done by Baromoter from Jan 9-15.

Public satisfaction over Vice-President Ma'ruf Amin is at 49.6 per cent, less than the 53.3 per cent scored by his predecessor Jusuf Kalla.

Meanwhile, some 84 per cent of the respondents agreed democracy is the best form of government, up from 77.3 per cent five years ago.

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