Wahid, Abdurrahman

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Wahid, Abdurrahman

Abdurrahman Wahid, 1940–2009, Indonesian religious and political leader popularly called Gus Dur, president of Indonesia (1999–2001). A Muslim scholar and political moderate who supported separation of religion and state and rights for women and minorities, Wahid became head of Nahdlatul Ulama, a social-welfare and educational institution and Indonesia's largest Islamic organization, in 1984. In poor health, almost blind, and noted for unpredictability and indecisiveness, he was nonetheless an extremely popular figure when he was elected president by opponents of Megawati Sukarnoputri. As president he presided with difficulty over a newly democratized nation, dogged by poor management skills and hints of corruption. By 2001 many Indonesians were calling for his resignation, and in July the parliament voted to remove him from office. Megawati was elected to succeed Wahid as president. Wahid sought to run in the 2004 presidential election but was disqualified for health reasons.

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