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Many Indonesians think vote-buying 'acceptable'

JAKARTA -- More than 40 percent of Indonesian voters consider politicians seeking to buy support at elections acceptable, a survey showed Friday, months before national polls in the graft-ridden country.

In what it described as an “alarming” survey, Jakarta-based pollster Indikator found that 41.5 percent of 15,600 people interviewed did not have a problem accepting cash or a gift from would-be lawmakers.

This compared to 57.9 percent who thought vote-buying was unacceptable, according to the survey. A tiny fraction were undecided on the matter.

However doling out money does not guarantee victory for a candidate, the poll showed — more than 55 percent quizzed said they would accept the cash but not necessarily vote for the person giving it.

The survey “shows our democracy is at an alarming stage as vote-buying at the grass roots has been found to be very high”, the pollster's executive director Burhanuddin Muhtadi told AFP.

“This will threaten the country's democracy.”

The survey, conducted in 39 electoral districts between September and October, found that voters who lived in rural areas were more tolerant of vote-buying than those in urban areas.

Legislative elections in the sprawling archipelago of around 250 million people will take place in April, followed by presidential polls in July.

Indonesia is ranked 114th out of 177 countries and territories in Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index. A number one ranking means the least corrupt.

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