15 Jul 2011

Suharto steps down

Suharto steps down

On 21 May 1998 President Suharto bowed down to the pressure and resigned from office. His constitutional successor, vice-president Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie, was sworn in. The commander of the country's armed forces, Gen Wiranto, pledged his support for the new president. Suharto's resignation met with cautious optimism, though certain opposition leaders warned that the nomination of Habibie, a life-long protégé of Suharto, would not hasten any significant democratic changes in the country or improve its human rights record.In July 1998, the ruling Golkar Party removed seven relatives of Suharto from the People's Consultative Assembly, while the government offered partial autonomy to East Timor, but ruled out independence. In the same month, Akbar Tanjung, a close ally of President Habibie, was elected Golkar chairman in its first-ever free vote.
In August 1998, the IMF, which was satisfied with continuing economic reforms, released another US$1 billion of its rescue package. Former President Suharto's son-in-law was sacked from the army.

By August 1998 more than 40 new political parties had been formed and registered, while the popular Megawati Sukarnoputri, the daughter of the former president Sukarno, resumed leadership of the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI). In December 1998 a new party, the Justice and Unity Party (JUP), was formed by a number of senior former members of the ruling Golkar party, including General Try Sutrisino, the vice-president between 1993–98.

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