Indonesian Politics under Suharto: The Rise and Fall of the New Order

Indonesian Politics under Suharto: The Rise and Fall of the New Order

Indonesian Politics under Suharto: The Rise and Fall of the New Order

Indonesian Politics under Suharto: The Rise and Fall of the New Order

Excerpt

Until his dramatic resignation on 21 May 1998, President Suharto had been in continuous political command in Indonesia for over three decades. He had seized power from the incumbent President Sukarno on 11 March 1966. He was then a lieutenant-general, little known outside the Republic. With the support of the Armed Forces, he proceeded to transform the country’s politics and priorities. No less a nationalist than his flamboyant predecessor, his vision of the future stood in striking contrast. He explained, ‘We shall only be able to play an effective role if we ourselves are possessed of the great national vitality’. To that end, a debilitated international pariah of a state was set on a course of rational economic development and regional co-operation, with the result that a quarter of a century later Indonesia had become a candidate member of the club of newly-industrialized countries. In the intervening years, President Suharto had concentrated and exercised power in a skilful and ruthless way, employing the forms of democracy to political advantage. The basis of that power had been a sustained economic success. However, from the middle of 1997, Indonesia was afflicted with an acute economic adversity which exposed the structural defects of his rule. The scale of economic failure served to undermine his legitimacy and precipitated his political downfall some two months after his re-election for a seventh consecutive term of office.

Michael Vatikiotis’ well-received, authoritative study of President Suharto’s self-styled New Order has already been revised in paperback form. In this third edition, he incorporates new material to provide a first-hand account of the dramatic events which led to the end of the Suharto era. In so doing, he also sets the achievements, the shortcomings and the legacy of that era in full perspective. This further revised volume sustains a profound understanding of the culture and dynamics of

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