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Indonesian oil price hike to fuel president`s woes: analysts
uusjio | May 14, 2008 at 12:19 amby
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Binny Buchori, an economist at think-tank Perkumpulan PraKarsa, said Yudhoyono's popularity could take a hammering as the subsidy cut contradicts an earlier promise not to raise fuel prices before the 2009 presidential poll.
"It's too early to say he will lose the election but it would make him less popular," she told AFP.
"I think the voters will remember that during SBY's time, in terms of poverty reduction, people haven't really felt it," she said, referring to the president by a popular nickname.
No new fuel price has been set but Yudhoyono has said officials are discussing a hike of up to 30 percent for premium gasoline to 6,000 rupiah (65 cents).
The protests have been mostly peaceful, but some fear unrest on the scale of 2005, when the last fuel price hike of 126 percent triggered demonstrations throughout Southeast Asia's largest economy.
Some analysts have also looked further back to 1998, when a fuel price rise provided the spark for a mass protest movement that ultimately brought down the Suharto regime.
Yudhoyono's administration has already outlined hazy plans for direct cash transfers to the poor and for expanded rice distribution and healthcare subsidies in a bid to limit the political fallout.
But the president's opponents have also ...